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Andy's Non-Technical Blog

  • Andy's Active August - Day 11

    My #ActiveAugust goals have hit a snag. I'm injured. I've learned the hard way that I need to be careful, and I'll likely be sidelined for a few days healing. Durnit!

    AndysActiveAugust Metric: 10 for 11, or 0.91.


  • Andy's Active August - Days 9 and 10

    Sundays are the nemesis of my #ActiveAugust goals. It's a busy day with church and usually some sort of family activites thereafter. Last Sunday, 2 Aug, was the only day thus far I hadn't exercised. So this Sunday I was more than a little concerned.

    Christy wasn't feeling well, so we didn't get to church. Since Christy hadn't slept well the night before, a long summer's nap was in order. We kept Riley up a little longer than usual and talked Emma into laying down for her nap with Christy and Riley; and Stevie Ray and I made for the gym.

    For the third day in a row, I jogged a mile without stopping. Then I did 75 reps with 100 pounds. And then, when I stopped by the child care room, Stevie Ray was in the middle of a fierce game of UNO, so I returned to the gym and did 1/2 mile on the elliptical.

    Take that, Sunday!

    This morning I went to gym around 6:00 AM and jogged my mile on the treadmill - again non-stop. Four in a row.

    Thursday and Friday are going to be tough this week, as I'm working from Richmond Thursday and presenting in Richmond Thursday night. We'll see how it goes...

    AndysActiveAugust Metric: 9 for 10, or 0.9.


  • Andy's Active August - Days 7 and 8

    It's been a couple days since I last blogged. In between a couple long days at work, installing Windows 7 on the Red XPS laptop, and Riley's birthday cookout; I managed to exercise both days. My #ActiveAugust goals revolve around making exercise a habit. I want to work up to a challenging (for me) routine. My thinking is: If I can do this for a month (or most of a month) I can continue.

    To review, my goals are: Before #ActiveAugust ends I want to be able, in a single workout:

    • Jog 1 mile on the treadmill without taking a walk-break;
    • Do 200 reps with 100 pounds.

    Yesterday morning I hit half of my two-part goal. I ran a continuous mile on the treadmill without taking a walk-break. I was overjoyed, but I have to share I thought it was a fluke. And since running on the treadmill is easier for me than running ITRW (in the real world), my test was to try running to Worsham store and back.

    The terrain from my driveway to Worsham store is challenging. I start off going downhill for a good bit, then up a steep short hill. I go down a little and up a gentle slope to Route 15, then back the way I came. The end for me is a decent upslope for the last tenth of a mile or so. That's what I mean by challenging.

    I decided to jog it this afternoon, on a muggy dog day of August. And I made it!

    Now if you saw me "jogging" you'd laugh. I don't run, I shuffle. But I shuffled a mile without a break two days straight. Steve Jones' record isn't in danger, but I feel like a million bucks (well, a sore million bucks). It's time to start working on getting those reps up, while maintaining a mile a day.

    AndysActiveAugust Metric: 7 for 8, or 0.875.

    :{> Andy

  • Andy's Active August - Day 6

    Today was also close. After staying up too late last night due to work (and being old - old people don't need sleep), my #ActiveAugust aspirations were nearly dashed by sleeping in until after 6:00 AM again for the second day in a row. In addition, it rained here most of last night - making it too wet to walk here near the house like yesterday.

    Technically, I could walk up the road to Worsham store just fine. It's when I meet a vehicle that it gets dicey. The Commonwealth of Virginia has decided to balance the budget by never mowing Abilene Road again. The weeds are about waist-high, even a foot off the road. I don't mind high weeds. I do mind high wet weeds.

    "Pedestrians have the right of way" I hear you thinking. Folks, this is Farmville Virginia. We don't so much rely the law of the land around here as much as we rely on the laws of physics. So when I say "vehicle," I mean "the two tons of rolling steel." In other words, I need to get off the road when a car approaches.

    As if that wasn't enough, I had enough work for three mornings queued up. What to do, what to do?

    I grabbed my gear and made for the gym. Since I was running late, I decided jog as much as I could and skip the weights today. I wasn't running fast, but I managed to jog 0.6 miles continuously on the treadmill at 4.5 mph. I ran probably another 0.2 miles near the end of the workout - sprinting 1/10th of a mile at 6 mph. I knocked out 20 minutes of cardio, cooled down, and returned home to start the business day.

    AndysActiveAugust Metric: 5 for 6, or 0.833.


  • Andy's Active August - Day 5

    Today was close. After being inspired by Tim Benninghoff's post about Dynamic SQL (and writing one of my own), I stayed up too late last night. The alarm is set for 5:30 AM to give me enough time to get up and stirring before heading to the gym at 6:00. I hit snooze a few times and didn't get up until about 6:30.

    That didn't leave enough time to make the gym and get back in time for the start of my work day. I thought about it for a bit, then threw on my gym shoes and headed outside. It was a balmy 68 or so out this morning and as humid as Virginia gets in August. It didn't matter. I was on a mission.

    I walked from the old farmhouse up to Worsham store - about 1/2 mile. On the way back I detoured down a farm road for an addition 0.2 miles or so. Then I went past our driveway on the return trip for another 0.3 miles or so. I guestimate I walked 1.5 miles.

    AndysActiveAugust Metric: 4 for 5, or 0.8.


  • Andy's Active August - Day 4

    I did something today I haven't done in weeks - I made it to the gym for the second day in a row, Maybe it's all psychosomatic (or just plain psycho), but I felt better today.

    I did 1.5 miles on the treadmill - enough to get a minimum good cardio workout for 20 minutes - and then started on the weights. In keeping with not hurting myself and ramping up slowly, I only did 20 reps with 100 pounds.

    I'm a little late setting goals but here they are. Before #ActiveAugust ends I want to be able, in a single workout:

    • Jog 1 mile on the treadmill without taking a walk-break;
    • Do 200 reps with 100 pounds.

    I realize this isn't that much for most folks. It's huge for me.

    AndysActiveAugust Metric: 3 for 4, or .75.

    :{> Andy

  • Andy's Active August - Days 2 and 3

    As suspected, Sunday proved to be a challenge to my plans for an #ActiveAugust. But this morning - Monday, 3 Aug 2009, which also happens to be Riley's 2nd birthday (Happy Birthday Boof!) - I dragged my tired self out of bed earlier than I had been and hit the gym. I did 25 minutes total on the treadmill - barely qualifying as a useful workout.

    I didn't touch the weights - maybe tomorrow. I was telling my marketing and project manager friends (ok, I have one project manager who hasn't blocked me and a former marketing person as a friend) that I was lifting 10,000 pounds! That's 10 sets of 10 reps with 100 pounds. Oddly, they both got the math. Right away.

    It had a been a while since I worked out. I have this theory that entropy accelerates with age. Exhibit A: I don't think I'd been to the gym since before my last birthday.

    I'm sore. But I think that's part of it - I'm sore with a bunch of other #ActiveAugust tweeps. We're sore together - isn't that cool? Tomorrow I hope to make it two days in a row - for the first time in more than a month. Economic analysis: July's payment to the YMCA was profitable for them and expensive for me. Durnit!

    On a side note - check out @sqlagentman's funny blog post about his (in)ActiveAugust!

    AndysActiveAugust Metric: 2 for 3, or .666.

    :{> Andy

  • Andy's Active August - Day 1

    1 Aug 2009: Today's cardio was mowing.

    About half of the three acres we (and the mortgage company) own is covered with grass - the kind that insists on growing. It's been a couple weeks since I gave it all a good mow. My neighbors were shaming me with their mowed lawns, and I'm a sucker for peer pressure (as I mentioned in my previous post).

    We own a riding mower. Christy found it three years ago when we bought the house. It was used and needed a little love. But it was only $275 for a 42" tri-blade deck, 18HP Briggs and Stratton engine. And it was running. Most of our yard lends itself to riding mower mowing. The hill out front does not.

    For the hill, I use a push mower. It's one that bags the grass, so it actually gets heavier as I go. Mowing the hill takes about 30 minutes. It's a decent cardio workout - as good or better as I get at the gym. The 90 DegF heat and humidity added to the fun.

    So Day One is in the books. Tomorrow will be tricky. I don't usually go to the gym on Sundays, and I've already mowed the grass. I'll need to be creative.

    :{> Andy

  • Andy's Active August - Intro

    I'm going to participate in #ActiveAugust for a couple reasons:

    1. A bunch of my Twitter friends are doing it.
    2. I really need to be more active.

    My plans are to go cardio each day. For me, doing something that gets my heart rate into workout range every day for 31 days would be astounding - and very good for me. Most studies say it takes 21 days to form a habit. This has the engineer's allure of 10 redundant days!

    I know the value of inspiration in physical activity. I was never good at sports in school - almost always picked last for anything that required speed or physical coordination (not looking for sympathy, just sharing). As I told my oldest daughter earlier tonight: When she was her daughter's (my granddaughter's) age, I was in Basic Training at Fort McClellan, AL. (Note to those considering enlisting: Go NORTH if you're going to do Basic Training in the summer months!) I remember thinking "I'll never make this. I can't run." But I could run. The first morning we got up early (well, "early" if you didn't grow up on a farm) and we ran around a block - probably not more than 1/10th of a mile. We ran in formation. We were in step and maintained a distance from each other. We chanted while we ran. There was a palpable sense of camaraderie. One day near the end of boot camp, we ran about 6 miles. In August. In Alabama. (See previous note...)

    I've been inspired by the people in our SQL Server community: Tim Ford, Donald Farmer, Thomas LaRock, T. Jay Belt, Paul Randal, Chuck BoyceKimberly Tripp, Matt Masson, Denny Cherry, Lara Rubbelke, John Welch, Paul Waters, Jessica Moss, Louis Davidson, Brian Kelley, Brent Ozar, Mike Walsh, Joe Webb, Grant Fritchey, Jorge Segarra, everyone in the Richmond Developer Comunity, and so many others (apologies, I know I left people out!). They share their expertise on Twitter, but they share so much more - their lives. I'm so blessed to be part of this community, and humbled by their acceptance. I no longer feel like the last kid chosen.

    It's time. Maybe past time. I've been inspired long enough - it's time to act on the inspiration. So I'm in.

    :{> Andy

    PS - Steve Jones encouraged me to have a separate blog for personal stuff. Thanks Steve!

  • Electronic Arts and "Sin To Win"


    (Found via Brett Petersel, Twitter) So, EA is publicizing a new game called Dante's Inferno, and they chose a contest at Comic-Con to promote it: Sin to Win. There's a decent synopsis here. Take a picture with a "booth babe" at Comic-Con, tweet about it with the hashtag #lust, repeat the process.

    Executive Summary

    Bad idea.

    Detailed Analysis

    This is a contest sponsored to promote the game? They're only at the second circle - what happens when they get to the seventh (the violent)?

    You know, maybe it's true that "all publicity is good publicity." I wouldn't know. I haven't gone after bad publicity intentionally, so it could be that I'm just missing out.

    I don't think the single act of the contest was a disaster. No, they've put a lot of effort into spinning this into the PR nightmare it has become. Their reactions - and make no mistake, these are reactions - are worded in the vein "We know you're upset but that's your problem." Take this image, for instance, posted at twitpic:


    I grabbed this image because similar messages posted at TwitPic have disappeared. I'm not confused by what EA did, and neither are the people who are complaining. I understand exactly what they want folks to do in this contest. Side-stepping the issue isn't working out well here. And it's difficult to take an apology for the offense seriously when the contest hasn't been cancelled.

    Here's hoping they stop now, seriously analyze where the money for purchasing video games originates (in families), admit their utter fallacy, and identify and promise to counsel the marketeers involved.



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