Post Election Day Workout

November 7, 2012

Even if I don’t post every day, I am probably still doing some type of early morning workout…even after staying up until 1:30 a.m. the day following election day.

Today I found my arms were not quite so sore from doing pull-ups last week (yes, it took about 4 days for most of the pain to subside) so I added some more into my WOD.  In the meantime, I’ve been pushing it hard on the elliptical and working on the core on my inversion table.

And yesterday I attempting “jumping the rope.”  Klutz!  But I did eek out about 40 or 50 while stumbling all over myself.

This morning was a “Russell” circuit.  3 reps.

  • 2 minutes on the incline trainer – 4mph @ 18 degrees incline
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  • 20 squatting presses with additional weight on the pilates machine
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  • 15 perfect pushups
  • 15 upside down sit-ups on the inversion table
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  • 7 jumping pull-ups
  • 20 lunges with 16lbs of weight
  • 20 “throwing the 10lb medicine ball” leg lifts
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Learning the Lingo

November 1, 2012

AMRAP – As Many Rounds As Possible

Cindy – Some bitch that created the pull-up, push-up, lunge combination.

So the WOD was:

Door-to-Door Run/Walk for time.  In the time it takes you to run or walk you will do As Many Rounds As Possible of “Cindy” or “AMRAP of Cindy” to put it in the correct lingo. “Cindy is:

  • 5 Pull-ups
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 15 Squats

Then Run/Walk Door-to-Door (not sure what this means, but I modified it to mean “get on the incline trainer and work you butt off for two minutes”).

I have a sister named Cindy.  She’s quite nice, actually, so I’m pretty sure these weren’t named after her.

I also had an aerobics instructor named Cindy.  She was nice too, but we called her “Sarge” because she would certainly make you do something like this.

I turned it into a “Russell.” See below.

Being new to this, I had to modify a bit.  I did finally find the pull-up bar in the attic prior to starting.  It was tucked away in a far corner behind all the stacks of boxes (I hope we never have to move).  It is actually my daughter’s, the gymnast.  I haven’t done a pull-up since…well, I don’t know when.  Pulling up 210 lbs. is a challenge.  I had to “jump” up into the pull-up, but I did them!


Push-ups were done using the perfect push-up. 

Did I tell you I made another medicine ball last night?  This one was made with a mini basketball and turned out to be 10 pounds.  Perfect!  Didn’t use it today, though.


Lunges followed…being careful to stay on the mat and keep the carpeted floor around me dry.

I modified a little and turned these in to a “Russell.”  After the lunges I completed 2 minutes of 30 degree incline walking at 2.5 mph.


Following the two minutes, I got on the inversion table and did 10 upside-down sit-ups…and then hung for a little while to stretch the back joints out.


As they say in the hair washing industry:  Wash, rinse, repeat.  I kept this up for one episode of DVR’d Vampire Diaries, or about 45 minutes.  I think I got about 7 rounds in.  Enough for today.

Day 3…and I’m Sore!

October 31, 2012

It is now Wednesday, day 3 of my “new” work out regimen.  All I can say is my body is sore…in a good way.  I’m really feeling it in my pectoral muscles and my glutes.  

Here’s Joyce’s workout of the day from Tuesday.  I had to modify it quite a bit because

A.  I’m just starting
B.  I don’t have all my equipment yet

I basically did a lot of box jumps (or at least what I think are box jumps), kettle ball swings (with my normal weights), knees to elbows and some upside down sit-ups on the inversion table.  Of course, I didn’t forget some perfect push-ups as well.

Tuesday night I made a medicine ball.  I used a $6 rubber basketball (Wal-mart), some play sand and a couple of tire plugs.  Filled it up with a small funnel (already had from Harbor Freight) and plugged the two holes I made (one to let air escape) with tire plugs. 


I used it this morning, Wednesday, for slamming (on the grass outside) and wall throws (coming down to a sitting position after catching the ball).  Okay…10 or 15 of each were all I could stand for the first time.  Perhaps I made the ball too heavy?

This weekend I’ll see if I can get a chin-up bar in place.

Finish Strong–The Beginning

October 29, 2012

My good friend Joyce Stevens lives with her lovely family in AZ…unfortunately for those of us here in Texas!  She used to live in our area and teach aerobics and fitness classes, of which I’ve participated in many.  Let me just say that then, she had a kick-ass workout.  Now, I think her workouts are kick-ass+!  Is it because I’m older? 

I got to see Joyce and Ron last week, for the first time in about 12 years, and she introduced me to her personal training workout.  It’s got a lot of cross-fit, P90x, muscle confusion components.  I will be following her, and her band of fitness-crazed followers (not a bad thing!) via her blog @  Today is day 1.  Will I be able to follow her consistently?  Only time will tell.  Perhaps along the way I’ll show her how to get her blog pointed to  Smile

  1. 45 minutes @ THR 137 elliptical
  2. 20 perfect push-ups
  3. 20 lunges w/weights
  4. 20 sit-ups upside down on the inversion tableimage
  5. Repeat 2, 3 and 4 three times until I was exhausted

For those in the Phoenix area, you can contact Joyce via her web site, Inside-Out Performance Training.

eBay Charges Final Value Fee on Shipping? Really?

April 7, 2012

I was reviewing my eBay charges and found that eBay charges a final value fee on shipping charges?  Really?  I guess that’s their way of preventing artificially low prices on items and high shipping charges to avoid final value fees on the item itself. 

I’m going to continue to tone down my eBay usage and work on Craigslist, Webstore and Blujay more.  Screw eBay.  There are plenty of other alternatives.

American Airlines Continues to Dig Its Own Grave

October 27, 2011

Last quarter (3Q11), American Airlines lost over $160M.  Each time they have a bad quarter I hear the same thing…blame it on the price of a barrel of oil.  But is that really what’s going on?  Or, are they simply making bad decisions that are forcing their captive market to make significantly different decisions on the way they travel?

Like a lot of DF/W residents, I’ve been traveling on American for more than 20 years.  I was here when the “big airport” was built and the Wright amendment went into effect (which, by the way was, and still is, one of the worst things for the air traveler and competition ever).  I’ve held Platinum, Gold, and “Tin” statuses as an AA traveler, most of the time due to the type of job I’ve held.  I currently hold the “tin” status with more than half a million miles. 

I can only imagine the backroom conversations in the corporate offices when they determine how to maximize their profits.  What kind of rules can be created that will add directly to the bottom line without completely pissing off our loyal customers (those with “status”) while really sticking it to the travelers who might not be flying with us next week, next month or next quarter?  Profit optimization what-if scenarios are being performed with a complex computer model showing the effects of a rule or fare change to the bottom line.  Who can argue with the numbers?  We need to stay afloat another quarter.  Our shareholders are expecting returns.  It’s the typical short-term outlook and vision of many large corporations.  The bottom line is, when you have no status on AA, you get screwed at every opportunity and the rules bear that out.  But I digress…

I have no problem with corporations, large or small, but one can definitely tell when a corporation has had a lot of government influence.  By that I mean AA existed during the era of government regulation of the airline industry when prices were controlled.  Therefore, their corporate infrastructure was built around more of a "cost plus” mentality, not a mentality of superior customer service.  The newer airlines have had the luxury of building their infrastructure around open competition (I use the word “open” loosely) and have had to seriously compete and find their niche in order to compete with the big boys.  We’ve seen the big ones, and some small ones, come and go.  I can’t really  knock a new startup airline for failing because their business plan didn’t pan out (unless, of course, it was based on business criteria from a decade or two ago), but I can knock a large, heavily capitalized airline for failing to recognize the changes in the marketplace and be able to change its business plan to compete in the “new” marketplace.  This behavior reminds me more of a large government entity.

Which leads me to my main point.  I, like a lot of my friends and coworkers, look at air travel as a burden…a burden that is to be avoided, if at all possible.  I find myself doing the travel math to determine whether I would much rather get in my car and travel for four hours or go through the hassle of traveling to the airport, parking the car, checking in, checking bags, being vetted by “Thugs Scaring Americans,” playing the gate change game, getting on a flight that may or may not be on time,  retrieving bags, getting a rental car, and on and on and on.  Heck, four hours is nothing in a car.  Insert bag, insert key, start engine and drive.  Cruise control is great!  When you arrive, you are at your destination.  Plus, you get to see some stuff along the way.  I’m finding more people who are not only willing to take a four hour drive, but also that day-long 12+ hour drive.

American Airlines instituted yet another “tin traveler” status rule (in February of 2011, I believe).  If you want to travel standby and you have a “cheap” ticket, you get to pay the “bend-over $50” fee.  Why?  Because they can.  Because the market will accept it…at least in the short term.  And that’s my point.  Many people, me included, will pay the $50 fee…in the short term.  However, my, as well as others’ behaviors, will change.  I can tell mine is already changing.  I am looking for alternatives to AA when I travel.  Instead of thinking “I’ll book it on American” I’m thinking “What are my other options besides traveling on American?”  If I’m going to be treated as part of an optimized business profit solution then I’m going to insert my own parameters into the equation, and many of my resulting decisions will lead me away from AA. 

One of the primary obstacles to making alternative decisions is the Wright amendment.  When it is gone in its entirety, I’ll be “free to move around the country” more efficiently on an airline like Southwest.  And I, like others, will remember my experiences on American and bid them adieu. 

P.S.  I write this as I am traveling on a regional jet from DFW to CVG.  I guess my $50 change fee was not enough to cover the repairs to the restroom at the rear of the aircraft, as the door was broken and would not lock (I held it closed with my foot), hence the light was flickering, and their was no running water, only moist towelettes, with which to wash your hands.  The flickering light reminded me a bit of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but thankfully, no one died.

Is your free coffee really free?

October 3, 2011

This thought occurred to me the other day as I was watching folks drinking free coffee at work.

Is the coffee really free or is it included in the cost of submission?

Installing Internet Explorer 9 Breaks SharedView

September 27, 2011

Hey Microsoft!  When you fix IE9 so it doesn’t break SharedView I’ll install it…again.  Even though I’ve installed IE9 on multiple computers and servers, I haven’t found any real compelling reason to install IE9.  All of the “compelling” reasons to install it make very little difference once it breaks something else. 

Is it faster?  Not really noticeable on my 2.5Ghz dual core notebook.  I’d be better off getting an SSD.  Is it more standards compliant?  I guess so, but it has hung on my so many times that doesn’t really matter.  Does it work with SharePoint any better?  Not that I’ve found…especially when you factor in all the times it has hung on me.

I will give them kudos for making the uninstall uneventful.  I guess they really want to push more people to FireFox…

This is why I like Dell support

January 19, 2011

I have been purchasing Dell Latitude notebooks (M65, D830, D820, etc.) for several years and always purchase the 3 year warranty and purchase the additional year extension when the 3 year warranty is about to run out.  I’m always impressed by the service I get.

I recently had a display issue with my D830 with a vertical green line appearing towards the right side of the display.  So I got online with Dell support.

Here’s my recent chat log with the Dell ProSupport technician, Mike Gallagher.  Do HP, Acer, Sony, Toshiba and the others have this kind of support?

1:00:58 PM        System  You are now being connected to an agent. Thank you for using Dell Chat
1:00:58 PM        System  Connected with ProSupport Michael Gallagher
12:47:25 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Hi, my name is Mike, thank you for contacting Dell Technical Support. While I am pulling up your information may I please get a brief description of the problem and any troubleshooting that has already been done.
12:48:20 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  I am showing that this is a D830, is that correct?
12:49:08 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  My D830 has two problems. One developed in the last 24 hours. It has a green vertical line on the right side of the display that extends the entire length of the display. Also, the "eject" button has fallen off from the card slot.
12:49:49 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  The PCMCIA slot?
12:50:06 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  It’s the "other" card slot. Can’t think of the name…
12:50:47 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  The "express" card slot.
12:50:47 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Is the green line seen on an external monitor?
12:51:09 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  No, I currently have it docked and it is only on the display on the notebook.
12:52:24 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Ok…I need you to undock, power the system off, then hold the D key and the power button down for 2 seconds then release, and tell me what you see.
12:53:41 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  How do I do that without losing you…since I’m using the computer to chat with you?
12:54:32 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  oh… I did not realize that we were chatting on the same system.
12:55:11 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  I can chat back with you on a different computer, if there is some way to connect back to you.
12:55:11 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  I will suspend the session , then you can do that, and when you go back into chat you will get me.
1:02:01 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  The screen cycled through all the colors with each colored screen displaying the vertical green line except, of course, the green screen where the line couldn’t be seen. 🙂
1:03:09 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  hello
1:03:17 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Hola.
1:03:34 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  that’s what I need to know
1:03:39 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  It the LCD
1:03:54 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Can I please get the address contact name and phone number that will be used for this dispatch?
1:03:57 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  That’s what I thought…either that or a cable going to the screen.
1:04:19 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  yep…going to replace them both
1:05:16 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Russell Wright, xxxx xxxxxx 
1:05:43 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Usually at the biz address during the day.
1:06:10 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Where do you want me to send a tech?
1:06:21 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  To the biz address.
1:06:35 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  no problem
1:07:02 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Don’t forget the "eject" button for the express card slot! 🙂
1:07:53 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  is that Richardson TX?
1:08:01 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Yes.
1:09:03 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Any other issues with he system that need to be addressed like missing rubber feet or cracked plastics?
1:09:08 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  *the
1:09:57 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Nope. All looks good except for some scratches on the lid.
1:11:43 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  We will fix that too while we are out there.
1:11:48 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Please bare with me while I process this request, this will take several minutes.
1:12:06 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Wow! I’ll be grabbing some snacks.
1:14:04 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  no problem…. enjoy
1:14:24 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Chips ‘n salsa.
1:18:39 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  it will be just a few more minutes
1:18:48 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  OK.
1:28:40 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Thank you for your patience, Your dispatch number is 140933333 
1:28:55 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  This part should ship next business day and you should be contacted by the onsite tech by 1:00pm tomorrow
1:29:00 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
1:30:07 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  No. You’ve done great! Thanks for your assistance.
1:30:25 PM        ProSupport Michael Gallagher  Thank you for choosing Dell! We are always available at Please feel free to close this window at your convenience.
1:30:36 PM        RUSSELL WRIGHT  Bye!

Replacing a magicJack with netTALK Duo

October 16, 2010


So I bit the bullet and purchased a netTALK Duo to replace my magicJack.  So far it’s been my best decision of the month.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


Had to unplug and replug power on the Duo to reboot it (lost dial tone).  Other than that, it’s been working great.


Was on a call with a client for about 3 hours.  I started with a netTalk conference and, from what I could tell, she kept getting dropped.  So, I had her call me directly.  Call dropped every 15 minutes (she actually started timing the drops).  So, I called her back.  Didn’t have a drop for the rest of the call (over an hour).  Not sure this has anything to do with netTalk, but the drop was like clockwork…every 15 minutes.