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The Stronglifts 5X5 Difference December 5, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Lowell, MA, Other, stronglifts 5X5, weight training.
2 comments

Last year at this time I was a 200-pound weakling. O.K., not really. But my strict adherence to the Stronglifts 5X5 Program for the past 6 weeks has made me stronger. But I didn’t know the real difference until Monday, when we got our first substantial snowstorm of the season.

It took me about 90 minutes to shovel the driveway clean (partly because it takes longer to carry all of the snow to the same side of the driveway and build a snow mountain into which my ten-year-old son can later carve a snow cave). Ninety minutes is about the same amount of time it always takes. That’s not the difference. The difference this year is:

  • Last year I would have been in pain, particularly in my lower back and rear, after shoveling for 90 minutes.
  • This year, I was in pain when I woke up Monday morning.*

Thanks, Mehdi!

*However, after shoveling, I felt much better.

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NaNoWriMo 2007 October 3, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Idaho, Lowell, Massachusetts Drivers, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Other, writing.
6 comments

Careful readers of this blog will note the new sidebar widget proclaiming my participation in this year’s National Novel Writing Month, which is held annually during the month of November.  These widgets just showed up on the NaNoWriMo website, so I grabbed one. Later it will be replaced with a progress meter, then a “winner” banner on December 1.

My job does not offer me the flexibility that it did last year, which is on balance probably a good thing.  But despite the lack of free time, I’m doing it again.  I plan on triumphantly completing my second novel, or at least 50,000 words of it, by the end of November. I may post excerpts of it, or even the whole thing, like I did last year.  I’m not yet sure.

I have been thinking about this particular novel for several months now, even going so far as to jot down the names of principal characters and a rough outline.  I hope that doing so is within NaNoWriMo guidelines, but I can’t help myself.  I am chomping at the bit. 

The setting of this one is Idaho, so it is obviously another comedy.  But it is not another Cthulhu-mythos-inspired comedy set in the fascinating world of university fundraising.  I’m sticking to the real world, or as close as I can come to the real world with a novel set in Idaho. 

Working Title: Being the Odds

Bees July 17, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Lowell, Maggie, Other.
3 comments

Since my wife and son are on an extended trip, I am at home with Maggie.  So I’ve been going home for lunch and taking her for a walk around the neighborhood every day.  And then I go back to work for a few hours and come home for another walk, and to play ball somewhat endlessly.  I saw that there was a couple of trees down after the big wind and rain storm we had on Sunday night, so I walked her down there today (not our usual route) to take a look at them. 

Turns out the trees didn’t fall down, the nursing home had cut them down preemptively, ’cause they were very certainly dead (see picture below, clicking to enlarge).

tree0717071252.jpg

The woman in the bee-proof clothing is Louise, who was working with John, another beekeeper to attempt to save the bees by helping them to migrate their hive.  Apparently the inside of the tree was an excellent place to have a hive, with maybe 50 lbs of honey.  The idea was to lure a bunch of their scouts into this box that smells really nice (to bees, but it smelled pretty nice to me, too).  And then the queen would follow the scouts.  John didn’t think that the probability of success was all that good.  But I am hoping for the best.

John said I could go under the caution-tape, then asked if I was allergic to bee-stings.  I said that I am not allergic, although I remember that it hurts a lot when you get stung.  I have an aversion to bees.  Louise kindly took this picture with my cell phone camera. 

bees0717071253.jpg

Is that cool, or what?

Lowell Massachusetts Flood Pictures April 17, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Lowell, Other.
1 comment so far

Here’s some pictures of the latest round of flooding in Lowell, MA.  We had worse last year around Mothers’ Day.

Pawtucket Falls at the Mammoth Street Bridge, on my way to work at about 8:15 am (click to enlarge).

pawtucket-falls.jpg

An Exxon Station on Middlesex Avenue, where I filled up the car on my way home.  This is about 100 yards from the Merrimack River.

exxonatmiddlesexst.jpg

The Boathouse (now owned by the University . . .) from the Rourke Bridge, showing the Dunkin Donuts that got flooded last May (in the distance) and the closed VFW Highway/Pawtucket Boulevard.

boathousefromrourkebr.jpg

University could be closed tomorrow, too, depending on when the river crests.

Another New Header Image January 10, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Constructivism, Lowell, Massachusetts Drivers, Other.
1 comment so far

In honor of the discussion that SilverTiger and I are having about Radical Constructivism, I have inserted a new header image, which I call “Contradictory Injunction.”  Luckily, there are endless examples of these sorts of messages in Lowell, Massachusetts.  A few years ago the snowplows had wiped out the paint on the Wood Street approach to this intersection, but the City repainted it in this confusing arrangement. 

Drivers tend to read into the sign different messages.  The ones who remember when it was a left-turn only lane read the “only” part of it as confirmation.  If they have to go straight, onto the Roark Bridge, they stay in the endlessly long line of cars in the right lane.  And then they are peeved when those on the left merge into them.

I figure the only acceptable thing to do in the left lane there is to split your car in two, and I’d gladly help others with a rocket launcher, if I had one, or an axe, if they stayed still long enough.

Name that Blog December 21, 2006

Posted by caveblogem in Blogs and Blogging, bookmooch, Books, Constructivism, Education, Hipster PDA, how to, librarything, lifehack, Lowell, luck or time, Market Research, Massachusetts Drivers, Origami, Other, statistical analysis, web 2.0, writing.
9 comments

Davidbdale brought to my attention yesterday, late at night, when I had already had a particularly difficult day, the fact that there is a blog called “as a blog returns to its vomit” which is run by a pastor, somewhere in the Midwest, probably.  Why did this bring me even lower?  Well, david saw this blog, which does not even have an open comment thread, in WordPress’s list of fast-growing blogs and thought that it was mine.  (No, david, mine’s the blog that’s hardly growing at all.)  And it bothered me because I really should have thought about the name a little more before I started this thing, and I should have checked for others using the name, or variants thereof.

In an earlier post I said that I was thinking about making some changes to this thing, more drastic ones than the accretive ones and annoying changes of backgrounds and themes that I normally make.  Well, let’s add a name change to the list.  The name of this blog doesn’t really reflect the content of the site, or the community that reads it, or really anything important.  And pastor whatever-his-name-is seems to have gotten the name first anyway (in March, I think.)

So I am changing the name temporarily to Pro Tempore (another nod to davidbdale, who needles me about my use of Latin).  This will not affect any links that you have made to this blog.  They will still appear as the original name and will still link here, because I am not changing the URL.  But as the name implies, this is a temporary measure.  I would really like some suggestions as to what to call this thing going forward (accordingly, I have tagged it with most of the tag categories I normally use, so that people who read this tag-surfing will get a chance to chime in here.)

So, tell me what to call this blog.  The prize will be, I don’t know yet.  Suggest something for that too.  I’d like to hear from everybody who reads it.  That means you too, Mom, Dad.  And I’d particularly like to hear from those of you with descriptive names that seem to work so well for your blogs.  That would be davidbdale, whose blog name describes exactly the content of his site, as does strugglingwriter’s, prairie flounder’s and some of the others on my blogroll.

New Header Again December 14, 2006

Posted by caveblogem in Blogs and Blogging, Lowell, Massachusetts Drivers, Other.
6 comments

That’s a new header picture up above.  I took it on the way to work the other day.  I know it’s not the only street like this in the world, or even in Massachusetts, but it just completely mindsplats me every time I drive by it.  Both of the signs, the one reading “Grosvenor” and the one reading “Broulette” are for the same street.  The street perpendicular to this oddity is called “Middlesex Avenue.”

b-g.jpg

Some maps I have seen call this street Grosvenor.  Yahoo Maps just calls it Broulette.  The picture above is from the folks at Google, who are covering all the bases (notice how the lower street in yellow has three different names in that small frame).  You can’t tell from the map, of course, but the street is only about fifty meters long, tops.  It’s unclear where exactly the street changes its name.  Perhaps the residents know.  I wonder if it causes them problems with their mail service. 

When I first moved to Massachusetts I lived on First Street Blvd.  Yeah, it is a boulevard called “First Street.”  It is also called, along a three mile stretch the following names:

  • Merrimack Avenue
  • Highway 110
  • The VFW Highway
  • Pawtucket Boulevard

None of this seems to bother anybody else out here. 

Once when I was much younger a man named Bono sang a song about a place where “the streets have no names.”  I’d settle for a place where streets just have one name, but I think I know how he was feeling.

But that’s not how I feel right now.  Right now I feel conflicted about this blog and about my career.  Thus the new header.

One hundred ninety-sixth safest city October 30, 2006

Posted by caveblogem in Lowell, Other.
2 comments

Lowell has been ranked the 196th safest city in America, according to a report by Morgan Quinto Press, who collected crime statistics from, apparently, as many cities as they could.  It’s all about perspective.  The ranking shows, sort of, in a weird way, that the city is safer than Sacramento (322), San Francisco (270), and Concord (142), where I lived when I first moved out of Mom and Dad’s house (Folsom apparently did not respond to the survey). 

 And in Massachusetts the rankings are a little surprising, too.

  • #4. Newton
  • #76. Quincy
  • #85. Somerville
  • #117. Cambridge
  • #196. Lowell
  • #229. Worcester
  • #242. Lynn
  • #254. New Bedford
  • #314. Boston
  • #341. Springfield

I’m sure that now that Boston has taken Lowell’s Chief of Police as their Commissioner, Ed Davis will clean them up a little.  I just hope that whoever attempts to fill Davis’ sizeable shoes will stick to his comminity policing tactics.