Archive for the ‘SciTech’ Category

Well, I finally got the Xpress Redi Set Go a few days ago. I’ll live with it a while and see what I think. So far, I *have* used it several times to cook stuff, even my first day back from CO. In fact, it was part of a group meal for “sliders,” as folks for some reason call those little under-sized hamburgers.

(In the Navy, we called regular hamburgers “sliders,” and hot dogs “rollers.” Now *that* makes sense! 😀 )

So far, it seems quite handy, and I’ll judge upon useful-ness. First thoughts are that it *is* quite handy, though a bit smaller than what I expected, and cleaning out the grease from the “sliders” was a chore that I’m trying to learn how to do better. For that type of thing, the George Foreman Grill (GFG) is clearly superior. The little Xpress is not well-designed (or intended) for multiple large steaks or burgers, and it’s a grease trap that is not the easiest to clean (so far).

For little, one-person-sized meals, it might do. But my focus is on the meats these days, so we’ll see. As far as operation, like the GFG, it almost couldn’t be simpler, and the timer on top is really handy–even when you’re not using the Xpress itself to cook anything. Quality seems just fine–although after testing the timer after first getting it, it failed to go to the end and “ding.” But after that first day, it’s worked right every time.

If I were to suggest anything for this particular model, I would say that it should come default with an open pan insert, like the divided pan insert, but completely open, like the base. That would make everything soooo much easier. I think it may be part of the “pan subscription,” but there’s no way that I’m going to subscribe to something like that. That’s just a problem waiting to happen, for me.

They should perhaps offer a larger model, too. And maybe a “griller” pan that has those raised ridges the GFG has, slightly tilted, that runs into a grease well underneath.

One thing that really aggravated me–after waiting for the “free express shipping” to finally get here, I looked on the receipt and noticed a $26 or so shipping charge. Free? I don’t think so. I didn’t call them up yet, but I’m betting what they’ll say is that, “yes, the Xpress is free, but the extras that come with it have shipping charges.” Considering that the Xpress is only a couple of pounds (weight) and that the supplemental items are all of negligible weight, I’m going to throw the “ripoff” flag on that one! 😦 Booo! Cathy Mitchell, if you don’t know about this–you had better! And if you do–shame on you, that’s freakin’ dishonest. I wouldn’t mind paying the shipping, but you should’ve been upfront about it in the first place!


Xpress Redi Set Go–item: thumbs up (so far)
Deceptive selling practices: thumbs down!

Overall: Mixed


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Express Post

I want you to take a look at this and marvel. See text below:

Wed, June 24, 2009

Re: Order Number: xyz

Thank you for ordering from Xpress Redi Set Go TM. Your order has been shipped.

Date Shipped: 06/23/09
Via: Express Shipping
Tracking Number: 23451325

Your order has shipped with express shipping and should arrive within 7-10 business days from the day you placed your order. If you would like to track your order, please click the link or copy https://spportal.fedex.com/sp/track.jsp into your browser window. Just copy and paste your tracking number to see where it is.

We sincerely appreciate your business.

Customer service is available 9am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Xpress Redi Set Go TM Customer Service Team

Last week I ordered a thing I saw on TV, something called the Xpress Redi Set Go. I was actually watching TV in my motel room in the Springs and an infomercial of this thing came on, which looks like a good replacement for my George Foreman Grill (GFG). As you may or may not know, one day a few weeks ago I was going to grill some steak; when I put the steak on the GFG, little to my knowledge the little plastic pad on the bottom of the steak went onto the grill with it.

Yuck! It totally melted into the grill (and the steak). With a tear in my eye, I tossed the steak into the trash, and later tried to remove the plastic off of the grill. I never got satisfied with the result… so I told Chris not to use it, and I haven’t used it since. I really like the grill, but no way do I trust this one (aromatized plastic–mmmmm!).

If you think you can clean it up to your standards, by the way, I’ll give it to you. Otherwise, it’s going to the dump.

So, anyway, I figured I’d just get another one, newer and/or bigger, perhaps, though the size seemed okay my normal applications.

However–back to the story–I saw this on TV and thought, “Cool, just what I need, and it looks like it even has more functionality than the GFG!” So I ordered it.

Okay–note that I ordered it last Thursday or Friday. With the “Free Express Shipping!” Also, I ordered via phone, and nowadays they make you go through–I’m not kidding–an extra 15 min to half an hour of a person’s automated voice saying, “And in addition, for 19.95 a month, you can subscribe to her recipes. You get the first month free, and you can keep it. After that you can cancel at any time, or send it back and you won’t have to pay for it.”

And I say–“No,” of course. Then the voice says, “Don’t say no, yet! Remember, you can cancel at any time, and blahblahblahblah…”

So I say, “No,” and then they go on to the next thing for, like I said, 15-30 minutes, until I start cutting “her” off with a belligerent “NO!” And they finally say, “Thank you for your order, and we’ll express this to you right away.” Click. Must’ve had a voice stress monitor or some logic that said if “he starts cutting off the voice, then he’s finally had enough…”

Anyway, the shaggy dog of the post is to let you notice that:
a) I ordered last week, and they’re just now getting it shipped, and
B) they say I’ll be getting it in 7-10 days. “Business days!” What sort of “Express Shipping” is that? It had *better* have been free! Holy Geez…

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Yes, I know that technically it’s pronounced like “rogue” vice “moon.” But anyway:

And he plays a nice piano version of it, much more recently:

Still good.

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I decided on how I wanted to figure the wattage of the long cycle clean and jerk (LCCJ). Whereas before, I calculated the snatch based on one stroke, but couldn’t figure the LCCJ, because it’s a two-stroke movement. But since I rack the weight for an undetermined length of time before I jerk it, I didn’t feel comfortable assigning a time count for the whole movement.

The solution, of course, is to just beak it down into the two movements and calculate the outputs of each, then add them up. So: you clean, which is about a one meter arc, rack, then jerk–where the weight travels about another meter.

From earlier, we remember that:

1 kg x meters squared
————————– = 1 W
seconds squared

So that’s:

16 kg x 1 meter squared
————————— = 16 W
1 seconds squared

So then you add:

16 W (for the clean) + 16 W (same calculation for the jerk) = 32 W (total)

Pretty simple, eh? As we saw in the earlier post, one 16 kg snatch generated 64 watts, and therefore 25 of them totalled 1600 watts.

For the same amount of LCCJ you would be causing 32 W x 25 LCCJs, which would equal 800 watts. Half the wattage of the snatch. So you can see why the snatch seems so intense.

Looking back I see that I estimated about 25 16 kilo snatches for one minute, and about 10 32 kg LCCJ for a minute. You know, I don’t remember now if that was one minute each arm (for a total of 20), or just one minute. Well, whatever. For now let’s just compare 10 LCCJ (32 kg) to the same minute for 25 snatches (16 kg). That’s an interesting comparison.

As stated, one minute yielded 25 snatches from the 16 kg kettlebell. Using the method for LCCJ calculation for 10 LCCJ (32 kg), we get:

32 W + 32 W = 64 W (one LCCJ)

10 of those, or course, gives you:

64 W x 10 LCCJ = 640 W

Hmm. That’s compared to 1600 W for one minute of 16 kg snatches (25 of ’em), and one minute of 16 kg LCCJ (if you did 25 of them) giving you 800 W.

Veddy interesting. But here’s the thing: the perceived level of effort for doing those 10 32 kg LCCJs is much higher than the 25 16 kg snatches, at least for me. I guess what that means is that I need to keep getting stronger… 🙂

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The other day, I forget what brought it up–but I ended up looking up some formulae for power, both electrical and units of work. I found them on Wikipedia, and ended up writing a couple of them in a little pocket calendar I had bought. When we were kids, my dad used to bring us those from the plant (Dupont plastics plant) where he worked. Little pocket calendar; planners as they might be called these days.

As a kid, I thought it was the coolest thing ever, with all sorts of cool conversion charts, handy mathematical formulae for engineers, that kind of thing. And–maps!! The only thing cooler I had as a kid was a circular slide rule with all these neat formulae on the back of it. Okay, so I never said I was normal… 😀

Well anyway, the little calendar I got is pretty cool. I had seen some moleskine calendar/planner books at Borders before Christmas. I was thinking about getting some for my nephews, but I got other stuff. And I thought about getting one myself. For some reason I’ve been looking for a handy, pocket-sized way to start planning/keeping abreast of my appointments. I guess because people will mention stuff to me, and I always have to say that I’ll get back with them, because I don’t know how their invite fits into my overall schedule.

I also wanted one that had some good spaces for taking notes. And you usually don’t see sort of a journal plus a scheduler together like they had them. These moleskines *were* nice, with a choice of daily or weekly paged calendars, *and* space for note-taking. So that I can write down tasks and such, and thoughts, drawings, reminders, etc. I didn’t get one then, because I was pressed for time and they’re a bit expensive.

My brother got one of the City moleskines, and it’s really neat. I looked around for some of D.C., but to no avail.

Later though, when I looked for them at a few different Borders, they didn’t have them. I searched, but did not find. I saw all sorts of others. Finally, I decided to just buy a cheap one and try it out. It’s pretty neat, a little what-seemed-like-no-name UK brand from Johnson Diaries, Ltd. Hmm. I just looked them up on the web. Guess they’re known out there somewhere…

In any case this one has maps! And a little room for notes, some conversion charts, etc. But what it was really missing was some of those handy formulae for power, energy, voltage, etc (sometimes it’s handy to know, for my job). Oh–that’s why I was looking those up… I remembered I wanted to put them in the little pocket diary. So, I went to Wikipedia, looked up a few formula, and wrote them down on the inside cover. Some of these, I used to know, but disuse has mangled them in my mind. I figure this way, if I pull them out every now and again, I’ll have them down permanently and not have to worry ’bout it.

Anyway–cut to last night. I worked out, as documented in previous posts. Just for funsies, after the workout I got to wondering what the wattage was of one of the lifts I was doing, the snatch.

So, I pulled out the little diary, used the conversion from force to watts. I used the 16 kg bell, I swing it through about a 2 meter arc, and it takes at most, a second.

So the formula is:

1 kg x meters squared
—————— = 1 W
seconds squared

So, inserting the values I have it’s:

16 kg x (2m x 2m)
—————- = 64 W
1 second

I don’t quite remember how many of those I did in a minute, but seems like 25 could be about right (that’s much less than one a second, of course):

64 W x 25 = 1600 W = 1.6 kW (kilowatts)

So, it appears you would expend about 1.6 kW doing around a minute of those. I didn’t do the calculation for long cycle clean and jerk. It takes a little longer than a second to go from the bottom of the swing to the top position, but you have to rack in between, and sometimes I stay in the rack for at least a second. But it isn’t constant anyway, so I don’t know that I would get a good calculation.

I have also computed tonnage for my other days, though lately I’ve not been worried about it. Mainly because I’ve been going by time, not by count (I need someone to count for me when I do longer sets. You know, more than three… 😉 ). But out of curiosity:

16 kg x 25 snatches = 400 kg

400 kilos = 881.84905 lbs

Let’s add that to say, 10 reps for the 32 kg (for the one minute), and 15 for the 24 kg (one minute) and 20 from the last LCCJ from yesterday @ 16 kg for a minute:

32 kg x 10 = 320 kg (of course)
24 kg x 15 = 360 kg
16 kg x 20 = 320 kg (again), plus the snatch set:
16 kg x 25 = 400 kg (snatches), add these up, and you get
1400 kg = 3,086.4717 lbs

Call it 3,086 lbs. One and half tons. Mind you, I’m only estimating for what each set of both arms resulted in. But that’s, what… seven minutes of work. Not too bad for a workout that only used three little weights. And that doesn’t include the pre-fatigue, post fatigue, or velocity sets, which have their own work expenditure.

Anyway, that’s what you get for being a geek…

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Yessir–that was a heck of a workout. Tonight I put the Courage Corner to good use using Ori Hofmekler’s Controlled Fatigue Training spiced up with his advanced ideas from his “Super Muscle” ebook.

As I mentioned before, incorporating his CFT ideas into my typical way of training is not really that much of a stretch. In principle, it’s how I often train anyway, but it’s nice to have a refresher and a dose of specific tips. These might help maximize my efforts in this area.

To reiterate, the key concept Ori is trying to get across with CFT is to train to withstand fatigue, and to that end, he stresses pre-fatiguing before doing any of your core exercises, whatever they may be (mostly strength-focused). Again, since you’re training with the idea of simulating fight-or-flight stresses, you finish off with a round of post-fatiguing exercise after you’ve done your core set of focus training (As they say, “It’s always the ‘dead’ lion that kills you.”).

The idea is that humans are built to exist in short states of high stimulation, which sets off a shower of adaptive hormones for recovery. The adaptive, recovery hormones are by-and-large, extremely beneficial to human health. One of the reasons for emphasizing brevity of workout is that if you are stressed for too long a period, you can compromise said bath of hormones, resulting in a decreasing return situation.

A secondary concept is the idea of intervals, which is a wave-like or sawtooth pattern of intensity, which can be carried fractally from a macro sphere to the minute details of a workout. You can have a giant wave, cresting in weeks, and work down to every 30 seconds of portions of the training session, such as what he outlines in the pre-fatigue phase. (Anybody remember the “Big Beyond Belief” workout system by Leo Costa, Tom Platz, and Russ Horine? That was a very well-defined hyper-controlled fractal wave cycle, and it *did* really work. My only problem with it–it DID really work. Ask my bro about that. And my interests are simply not in getting as big as I can.)

Here, for instance, you run for high intensity for one minute, followed by a low intensity run for a minute, then back up to the higher intensity, and so on for as long as you choose. With that minute, you alternate for 30 seconds running with your hands up in front of your face, and the next 30 seconds with your arms extended overhead. Then hands back in front of your face, and continue to repeat for as long as you run.

In the strength (“core”) phases of training, you effect intervals by using an “upside down pyramid” (UDP), going up, then down in intensity as with the running.

The “super muscle” key concept adds (or perhaps I should say, “emphasizes”) super-setting (immediately alternating) power or strength elements with speed or velocity elements. (If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice this is exactly what Pavel Tsastouline’s earlier kettlebell routines did from his Russian Kettlebell Challenge-grind element followed by ballistic element, back-and-forth, and alternating hard lifts with easier lifts.)

This is done because of the adaptive stress philosophy that states that the body adapts exactly to the stress that is applied to the body. In Ori’s case, he wants to encourage the muscle fiber, neuro-wiring, and hormonal bath to adapt to the real-life stresses of being both strong, and explosive, and sustained.

And to repeat, this is right up Dr. De Vany’s bag, too, when he talks about Evolutionary Fitness.

Today’s wasn’t too different from the last posted PT session. The main difference is that I added five lb dumbbells to the pre-fatiguing section, then alternated the upside down pyramid kettlebell LCCJs (strength) with one minute sessions punching and kicking the heavy bag for speed (velocity) sessions. My last velocity minute was a set of quick-snap snatches with the 16 kg bell. After that I hit the abs, then stretching.

To wit:

5 min run in place, alternate I min high-intensity, 1 min low intensity, 30 sec hands defensive position, 30 seconds arms extended (two 5 lb dumbbells)

1 min, each arm, LCCJ (32 kg)
1 min, striking heavy bag (punch/kick/tackle)
1 min, each arm LCCJ (24 kg)
1 min, striking heavy bag (punch/kick/tackle)
1 min, each arm LCCJ (16 kg)
30 sec, each arm, high velocity snatch (16 kg)

20 reverse crunches
cobra stretches
10 four-count alternate side curls
cobra/cat stretches
10 regular crunches
cobra/cat stretches
10 lower back extensions

Stretching and cool-down

About 30 minutes. And you’ll notice, no rest sets in there. I’d pause long enough to catch my breath or manipulate the workout equipment, and that was it.

There you have it. Enjoy!

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Well, I think I feel a little dirty now. You see, I actually take half-way decent photos, but it’s been a while since I’ve had a good camera. I forget at what point I ended up not using one… I gave my Pentax K1000 to my brother a long time ago for some reason, maybe because I had been traveling so much on submarines or something, and actually used a good compact, film camera. A Pentax ESPIO, I think it’s called. Actually did a great job.

I think there went something marginally wrong with it, then I ended up using a series of the “APS” (I bet nobody remembers that evolution from 35mm 🙂 ) one-time use cameras. As much as I like them, they ended up having some drawbacks in range and sharpness, not surprisingly.

Then when I needed a new cell phone (and I was definitely a holdout on getting my first one, and then the replacement–people used to have to text me using cuneiform 😀 ), I got one that had a camera. So I’ve been using that for a while, and even with its limitations, it’s been quite useful.

At the last place that I worked, I ended up in custody of a Sony 5 megapixel Cybershot, not a compact at all (in fact, it’s a beeg hulking thing). It was meant to be a serious camera, before a lot of the DSLRs came out, and had a great lens integrated into the body. It also had wonderful battery life. I took the thing to Hawaii for two weeks on a not-even-full charge, and it lasted thru the whole trip and even had some charge left over when I got back. But the downside was that it was a big hulking thing, and I wasn’t just there for photos, so I ended up not using it as much as I could.

You can see some of the pix I took with it of a hike my bro and I did, if you go to my Mac site which is linked over to the right (and I don’t use any more since I post here now).

But I got my brother a really good digital “pocket camera” for Christmas. And long story short, I ended up liking it so much that I had to get one of my own. So I did. After looking around a bit, I ended up with a slightly scaled up version, the Panasonic TMC-TZ5. And yes, it’s really nice :D. In fact, right now it’s more camera than I probably need. But after being a holdout for so long, I do feel like I’ve succumbed to something a little dirty, a little lustful… 😉

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