Thursday, October 29

Thank God for the M-3’s

I had another chance today to go in a bit later, but unlike Tuesday I was totally worn out and could barely drag myself to Ronkonkoma station. for the 7:32 to Penn.  When I got there about 7:15 the parking lot was considerably less crowded than it had been at 7:25 on Tuesday.  To some extent this may be attributable to the fact that it was ten minutes earlier, and to some extent to day-to-day ridership variation.  Logically, ridership should be about the same on a Thursday as on a Tuesday, but for whatever reason it doesn’t always work out that way.  In any event, I was especially dreading the thought of being squashed next to an elephantine SCA, and grimly noted that there were quite a few such specimens waiting on the platform.  Oh, no.  You can imagine my elation when an M-3 consist pulled into the station.  Even though the crowding would make getting a single seat an unlikely achievement, the slightly wider M-3 seats would give me some degree of protection against the SCA Squash.  It actually turned out not to be necessary, as an average sized 30-something woman took the next seat at Deer Park.  The car was pretty close to SRO by the time we got to Jamaica, but there were no delays and I waited under 30 seconds for a 3 train to Fulton.

I repeated Tuesday’s action and worked through lunch hour so I’d have a chance at getting the gloriously uncrowded 5:01 to Ronkonkoma.  No trouble getting to Penn on time, as a 2 train arrived at Park Place just as I did.  It was fairly crowded, mostly because of a rather loud group of 15 or 20 people traveling together.  They got off at 14th, in what looked like an exodus from a burning building or something; my guess is that they weren’t regular riders and didn’t realize that the doors remain open long enough at stops that there’s no trouble getting off in time.  To my surprise, the 5:01 was busier than it’s usually been, at least in my limited experience.  I walked back three or four cars from the head of the train and all of them were at least two-thirds full.  Finally, I took the aisle seat on the 3-across side, a big risk on an M-7, figuring that it was just a minute or so before departure and the chances that someone would take the middle seat were slim … though if anyone did take the middle seat he probably wouldn’t be slim!  Fortuantely no one did, and I had an easy enough ride to Ronkonkoma.  Having finished the first of three sections of  The Making of the Atomic Bomb, I took a break from reading and played some Tetris for the first time in over a week.  Not with much luck, alas.

Gym: a (very much needed) day off

Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm  Comments (2)  

Wednesday, October 28

Day off work today, as I try to use up vacation days before the end of the year.  In the morning I went to the local DMV office to renew my car registration.  It was nowhere near as gruesome an experience as I had been fearing, in fact it was not crowded at all and I was done in less than 30 minutes.  At around 5:30 I went to the gym and had a long and almost brutal session.  To start with, I got the 10 x 4 on pull ups that I hadn’t been able to make last time, as before with a set of six to start: 1 x 6, 10 x 4.  As far as I know 46 total reps on this pull-up version is a  record.  Next came deadlifts, and plenty of them: 6 x 225, 6 x 265, 6 x 295, 4 x 315, 6 x 275, 6 x 255, 6 x 225.  Forty total reps, not a record for deadlifts but still pretty good.  I then ran one mile on the treadmill at 5.4 mph, and finished up the session with dips, 5 x 12 x bodyweight.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 3:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, October 27

The magnificent emptiness of the 5:01

Today was one of the relatively rare days when I had the chance to go into work a bit later than usual.  I drove to Ronkonkoma for the 7:32 to Penn, pulling into the south side parking lot around 7:25.  It was immediately apparent that summer is over.  Summer brings lighter ridership, and one glance at the lot showed that ridership sure wasn’t light.  Only the last few rows closest to the woods on the east side of the lot still had spaces.  I found one without too much difficulty and boarded the third car from the end of the consist. It was somewhere above half-full when we left Ronkonkoma and SRO by the time we reached Jamaica.  As is normal for the 7:32 the SCA count was relatively low, ridership being about a 50-50 mixture of women and normal men.  A tall but fortunately not wide man of about 30 took the seat next to me at Deer Park and, unlike the schmuck yesterday afternoon, made no attempts to infringe on my (already minimal) space.  It’s amazing how some people can be so much more polite than others. I spent most of the ride reading, and unlike yesterday there were no delays. Also unlike yesterday, the 2/3 line was back to its usual reliability.  I waited just a couple of minutes for a 3 train to Fulton and the crowding wasn’t too bad.

I worked through lunch with hopes of getting the 5:01 to Ronkonkoma.  A fairly lengthy wait for a 3 at Park Place almost scuttled those hopes, but I made it onboard the 5:01 just as the door-closing chime was sounding.  I was in the second car closest to the head of the consist, in other words at the end of the train where boardings are heaviest.  In almost any other Ronkonkoma train that car would have been packed, even if there were ample seats toward the end of the train.  Not on the 5:01.  I would guess that only about a third of the seats were occupied, which means that the cars at the other end of the train must have been growing cobwebs or something.  A few more people boarded at Woodside and Jamaica, but not many, and needless to say I had a very nice ride to Ronkonkoma with no one sitting next to me.  As I’ve noted, the 5:01 still exists only by virtue (so to speak) of the incompetence of LIRR management.  If the managers had an average I.Q. score even close to the three-digit mark they would’ve canceled the underused 5:01 months or even years ago.  But stupidity reigns in the corner offices, and I’ll take advantage of that fact whenever I can leave early enough to make the 5:01.

Gym: my left wrist was a bit sore, probably from the other day’s dips, so I decided to skip weights for the day and instead ran another two miles on the treadmill at 5.4 mph.

Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, October 26

I could have done without today

It would be an exaggeration to say that today was a bad day.  I’ve experienced much worse, long delays and SCA crushings and all that, and today didn’t rise (sink?) to that level.  Nonetheless, it was a collection of low-grade annoyances that added up to a relatively poor overall experience.  The shuttle was on time at Medford, no complaints there, and the 7:04 from Ronkonkoma to Penn wasn’t too crowded at first.  It filled up gradually at the following stops, and in particular with a rather chubby woman of about 30 – I’m using “chubby” in an euphemistic sense – who sat next to me at Farmingdale.  It wasn’t a terrible squeeze or anything, not like the SCA horror show of March 11, and it was primarily her squishy rump tissue that flowed to the side and into me, but it wasn’t all that pleasant either.  Call it, say, a C+ or B-. We were about ten minutes late getting into Penn, most of the delay spent either at a dead stop or going very slowly in the Woodside area.  What made the situation annoying is that it was impossible to make out what the conductor was saying over the PA.  After only a few years in service many of the M-7 cars have poorly functioning or non-functioning PA systems.  I later found out that there were some problems with an Amtrak train in the tunnels.  After we got into Penn I made my wait to the 2/3 platform … and waited a long time for the next train.  It had to be close to ten minutes, of course the station PA didn’t announce anything.  When a 3 finally arrived it was hugely crowded and I just barely squeezed onboard.  The ride to Fulton seemingly took forever, with long door-closing delays at 14th and Chambers.  It’s somewhat disconcerting that the “old reliable” 2/3 line has been running into more and more delays in the past couple weeks.

I had another very crowded subway ride after work, this time on a 2 from Fulton, fortunately the wait was only a couple minutes.  As in the morning I spent the ride jammed up to people on all sides and barely able to move.  I was hoping that the 5:41 to Ronkonkoma would offer a pleasant ride, but that proved not to be the case thanks to a large non-SCA man who plopped next to me.  He wasn’t so much fat as just big overall, and barely fit into the allotted space.  He tried to muscle into my space to provide room for his meaty right arm, but I was having none of that.  I kept my left elbow pointed so that it poked into his side whenever he tried to push against me.  It was easy to tell that he was getting annoyed.  After about ten minutes he threw in the metaphorical towel and positioned himself so that he sort of leaned over the armrest on his left (aisle) side and kept contact with me to a minimum.  I finally was able to get back to my reading, and combined with some reading in the morning I’m now about 250 pages into The Making of the Atomic Bomb, up to about the mid-1930’s.  There fortunately were no delays, and the shuttle was on time too.

Gym: a 3-mile run on the treadmill at 5.4 mph.

Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 4:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, October 25

Call today a trap bar deadlift orgy.  I did a total of 50 reps, almost certainly a record: 8 x 225, 8 x 265, 6 x 295, 6 x 305, 2 x 4 x 315, 6 x 275, 8 x 225.  Whew.  Also some SLDL’s, 8 x 225, 2 x 8 x 235.  I ran one mile on the treadmill at 5.4 mph.  This leaves me a bit behind in terms of reaching my quota, with only two miles done three days into the week, but I should be able to catch up no trouble.

Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 2:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, October 24

Not too bad of an upper body session.  I had the foresight to start out with dips, so I’d be able to do weighted ones.  4 x 10 x bodyweight + 45, (later) 2 x 12 x bodyweight.  Next came pull-ups, the usual grip with hands facing away, though an unusual set and rep combo.  I began with a single set of six reps, then 8 x 4, for a total of 38 reps.  I also ran one mile on the treadmill at 5.6 mph.

Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 2:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, October 23

75% good

Today I came reasonably close to the Nirvana of having empty seats next to me the whole way.  Close enough for it to be a pretty decent day, all in all.  As has been my pattern lately I got the shuttle from Medford followed by the 7:04 from Ronkonkoma to Penn.  No M-3’s were to be seen in the yards, but it didn’t much matter because the seat next to me on the 7:04 was empty the entire trip. My best guess is that the car didn’t get more than about half-full.  I spent the trip reading more of the Making of the Atomic Bomb, not having played Tetris at all this week. Reading’s just more interesting.  We got to Penn on time, though I had a fairly long wait for a 3 to Park Place.  Probably close to ten minutes, though I hadn’t been timing it, and of course the car was hugely crowded.

No wait of any consequence for a 2 at Park Place after work, and no significant crowding either.  The 5:41 was somewhat more crowded than the morning’s train, but not by much.  An older, average-sized man took the seat next to me but wasn’t much of a bother, and he got off at Hicksville and no one took his place. Once again, I spent my time reading and the trip went by quickly enough.

Gym: day off

Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 5:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, October 22

A whole lot of nothing

Today was one of those days that basically slips below the commuting radar.  Okay, that’s an awkward analogy, but you know what I mean.  Nothing out of the ordinary happened.  The shuttle was on time at Medford, and as I’ve been doing lately I then got the 7:04 from Ronkonkoma to Penn.  No M-3’s were visible in the yard, so I took the 7:04 even though it was using M-7’s.  It seemed perhaps a shade less crowded than usual, though this could be because I was riding one car closer to the head end of the consist than I more commonly do.  Hard to say.  Anyway, there was nothing much of anything to complain about.  There weren’t too many SCA’s in the car, and in any rate a slender middle-aged woman took the seat next to me at Deer Park and didn’t infringe on my space at all.  As I said yesterday, most Asian women are fairly slim, with some chubby exceptions. This woman was not one of the exceptions.  I continued my progress through The Making of the Atomic Bomb, getting past the 150-page mark, which is about 20% of the way.  Speaking of slim people, I was amused by the description of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who was to be the lead scientist behind the Bomb’s development; at six feet tall, he weighed no more than 125 pounds.  You could chop the typical modern SCA in half and each piece will weigh more than that.  Anyway, we got to Penn on time, and after a wait of three or four minutes I got crowded but semi-tolerable 3 to Fulton.

Getting home was similarly uneventful.  A short wait for a 2 at Park Place, I actually got a seat, and then the 5:41 to Ronkonkoma.  It wasn’t at all crowded and for a while I thought I’d have an empty seat next to me.  Just before the doors closed, a woman in her 20’s took the seat, and though she was a shade on the chubby side she was no bother.  Actually, were it not for my iPod she would have been a bother, as for almost 20 minutes she kept up a rather loud conversation with a man she knew who was sitting across the aisle.  Fortunately, the music of Depeche Mode drowned out her yakking, and I did more reading.  She eventually conked off and – yes! – did a classic bobblehead routine.  We got to Ronkonkoma right on time, and the shuttle was on time as well.

Gym: some deadlifting tonight, a bit of playing around with the sets and reps.  6 x 225, 6 x 255, 4 x 285, 4 x 305, 6 x 265, 6 x 245, 6 x 225.

Published in: on October 23, 2009 at 3:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesay, October 21

Back to Jakarta, perhaps

Not a bad day today, all things considered.  For the first time this week the shuttle was right on time today.  I knew that the chances of getting M-3’s once again on the 7:04 from Ronkonkoma to Penn would be slim, and sure enough it was back to M-7’s.  There hadn’t been any M-3’s visible in the yards so there was no point in waiting for the 7:19.  To my surprise, the woman who took the seat next to me, a minute or so after I sat down, was the same young woman of indeterminate ethnicity who had sat next to me on Monday and who had been reading some text in a strange language on her Black Berry.  Actually it’s not all that strange, as people tend to ride in the same cars day after day.  I got another look at the text on her Black Berry and now I’m not so sure if it was Indonesian as I had thought.  My current guess is that it might be an Latin alphabet transliteration of a language normally written in a different alphabet, perhaps something like Tamil or Bengali.  If she had been reading a magazine or something like that I might have come out and asked her (“Pardon me, but I don’t recognize that language, what is it?”), but I could scarcely admit to having looked at her Black Berry.  I read more of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, I’m now up to the development in nuclear physics in the 1930’s, and we got to Penn in no time.  The ride on a 3 to Fulton was reasonably quick, the rail damage that caused troubles earlier in the week having been repaired for the most part.

The wait for a 2 at Park Place after work was a shade on the long side, but I made it to Penn in plenty of time for the 5:41 to Ronkonkoma.  Yep, M-7’s once again.  It was really packed, and I ended up in one of the seats in the last row by the vestibule.  These seats are actually a bit narrower than the other seats, which of course are hideously small to begin with.  It would have been disastrous if a large SCA took the aisle seat.  A woman in her 20’s took it, and while she was hardly of SCA size it was a relatively tight fit.  As I’ve noted, Asian women are usually slim but some of them can be chubby.  She was among the “some of them.”  Still, it wasn’t that bad, and I read another chapter during the ride.  We got to Ronkonkoma and the shuttle exactly on time, 6:53.

Gym: I ran two miles on the treadmill at 5.4 mph, making ten miles for the week.

Published in: on October 22, 2009 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, October 20

Of course it won’t continue

It’s always nice when a train pulls up to the platform and it’s using M-3 cars instead of the M-7’s.  There’s the highly coveted single seat in each M-3 car, and more to the point the M-3 seats are somewhat wider than those on the M-7’s … okay, everything is wider than M-7 seats, but still.  Today was a double shot of M-3 glory, though of course I fully expect things to be back to the usual tomorrow with M-7’s.  After arriving on the shuttle from Medford, which like yesterday was a few minutes late, I was delighted to see that the 7:04 from Ronkonkoma to Penn was using M-3’s.  Platform crowding was quite heavy and I wasn’t expecting to get a single seat, as noted there’s just one in each car, but I was very lucky and actually got one.  So nice.  I had a very pleasant ride into Penn, in a car that got almost completely filled, though unfortunately my subway ride on a 2 to Park Place wasn’t as enjoyable.  It took nearly ten minutes to crawl from 14th Street to Chambers, with the conductor announcing that we were going slowly because of “train traffic ahead of us.”  Sure.  And the dog ate my homework.  I had waited three or four minutes for the 2 at Penn and the platform already was crowded when I arrived.  That means the train ahead of us was almost certainly at least seven or eight minutes ahead of us, which should not have delayed us.  It didn’t help that the train was totally packed, it was hard enough to breathe let alone move.  Getting off the train at Park Place was a huge relief.

I got a 3 from Fulton after work, following a wait of under a minute, and actually got a seat.  When we stopped at Chambers, a 50ish woman entered the car and right away I noticed that she looked totally worn out, as if she’d just been through a tough stressful day at work.  So worn out, in fact, that I was debating whether to offer her my seat.  But then I noticed that she took out a tissue and put it in her hand when she gripped the pole, in other words to prevent her hand from actually contacting the pole and getting all these terrible germs.  I find people who are all paranoid over germs and bugs and creepy-crawly things to be a bit, well, ridiculous, and I stayed in my seat for the rest of the ride.  Hey, she’s probably be afraid to let her posterior make contact with the germ-laden seat … which on second thought is maybe not a totally bad idea.  As for the rest of the trip, the 5:41 to Ronkonkoma was on Track 18 rather than the usual 19, and like the morning’s train was using M-3’s.  No single seat this time, but a fairly slender woman of about 50 – the same approximate age and build as the germophobe on the subway, though not the same person – took the seat next to me.  She was small enough that I would have been barely aware of her presence on an M-7; on the M-3, she might as well have been near the orbit of Neptune.  As with the morning’s ride I spent much of the time reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb. It occurred to me that the story is so interesting that I haven’t even thought about playing Tetris.  It also helped the ride to Ronkonkoma and the shuttle go by as quickly as could be hoped.

Gym: I started with pull=ups, once again the hands facing away version, 2 x 6, 4 x 5.  Then I ran one mile on the treadmill at 5.4 mph, the short distance and slower speed due to my three miles yesterday.  To finish the session I did some dips, 4 x 12 x bodyweight.  I should be doing some with added weight, but after having done the pull-ups that would be a bit too much, even though the exercises target different muscle groups.  Next time I’ll do the weighted dips first, pull=ups later.

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 3:32 am  Comments (2)