Wednesday, November 4


Today was one of those totally unexceptional days in commuting terms.  There’s really very little to say about it.  The shuttle was on time at Medford, and the 7:04 from Ronkonkoma to Penn was busier than yesterday but not what I’d call crowded.  No one was sitting next to me by the time we left the station, but I figured that someone was bound to take the seat.  Sure enough, a non-SCA man took it at Deer Park, fortunately he wasn’t especially large and made no attempts at infringing into my space.  I got more reading done and the ride went by quickly enough.  About the only negative note was that we arrived on Track 14 at Penn, and another train arrived across the platform at Track 13 moments later.  This platform has narrower staircases and escalators than some of the others, so there was a bit of a human traffic jam trying to get off.  Just like yesterday, I missed a 3 train by seconds, but again just like yesterday another train (a 2) came along within a couple of minutes.

Due to some work pressures I actually cut it fairly close getting to Penn in time for the 5:41 to Ronkonkoma.  I made it to Park Place around 5:15, and thanks to a nonworking escalator missed a 2 train by seconds.  Fortunately a 3 came along shortly after and I made it onto the 5:41 no problem.  It was an M-3 consist, though I couldn’t get a single seat.  An SCA sat next to me, amazingly he was non-elephantine, and in any event got off at Hicksville.  I continued my progress through The Making of the Atomic Bomb, now up to the first chain reaction in 1942, and we got to Ronkonkoma and the shuttle on time.

Gym: a quick session, a 2-mile run on the treadmill at 5.4 mph.


Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 4:33 am  Comments (7)  

Tuesday, November 3

Summer in November

No, not the weather … today’s ridership levels were lighter than usual, almost at summertime levels.  Presumably it was because today was Election Day.  The shuttle was on time at Medford, or at most a couple minutes late, and I then got the 7:04 from Ronkonkoma to Penn.  It was an M-3 consist, though I wasn’t able to get a single seat.  What with the light ridership I had some hopes that the seat next to me would stay empty the whole way.  This turned out to be incorrect, as a non-SCA 30ish man took the next seat at Farmingdale, but he wasn’t large or annoying and I had an easy enough ride.  None of the middle seats were taken as far as I could tell, which is unusual except during summer months.  We got into Penn on time, and though I missed a 3 train by mere seconds another one came by in just a couple of minutes and wasn’t at all crowded.  I actually had a seat from 14th to Fulton.

Another uncrowded subway ride after work, this time on a 2 from Park Place, followed by a relatively uncrowded 5:41 to Ronkonkoma.  Once again I briefly had hopes of an empty adjoining seat all the way, but an older man took the seat just as the doors were closing.  He was perhaps a wee bit wider than I would have preferred, but within the tolerable range, and in any event he got off at Hicksville.  As in the morning I spent most of the ride reading, and I’ve now passed the halfway point of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, right up to Pearl Harbor.  As you might have gathered, this is not quick reading!  We got to Ronkonkoma and the shuttle right on time.

Gym: I did some deadlifting today, nothing too much, not that I was trying for anything.  8 x 225, 8 x 255, 6 x 275, 6 x 295.  I also did quite a few dips, 6 x 12 x bodyweight, the first three sets having been before the deadlifts and the other three afterwards.  I had wanted to try some weighted dips, but naturally the dip belt was nowhere to be found.

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 4:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 2

The Look – no, the Move of Love

Once nice thing about the end of Daylight Savings Time is that it also marks the end of a weeks-long stretch during which I had to leave the house in the dark each morning.  Being able to leave in the daylight this morning made a Monday definitely more tolerable than otherwise would be the case.  After a couple of late days last week the shuttle was right on time at Medford this morning.  When we got to Ronkonkoma the platform was quite crowded, so I knew that the 7:04 to Penn would be crowded too.  When it pulled up to the platform and I saw it was using M-7’s, I had to make a quick decision whether to take it or wait for the 7:19, as I’d seen an M-3 consist in the yards.  At almost the last minute I decided to go for the 7:04, figuring that the odds were fairly good that the 7:19 would also be using M-7’s.  If there had been two or three M-3 consists in the yards it might have been a different story.  The 7:04 filled up quickly, with the seat next to me being taken less than a minute after I sat down.  The person who took it was the woman I’ve sat next to a couple of times who writes in a strange language on her Black Berry, the language I had figured was possible Indonesian or a Roman-alphabet transliteration of a South Asian language such as Tamil or Bengali.  It turns out the latter was the case, as she was reading something in English and I caught a glimpse of the term “Lord Vishnu.”  All I could think of was Apu’s invocation “by the many arms of Vishnu.”  In any event, the car filled up quickly, with standees by Farmingdale, but at least there were no delays.  Once at Penn I found to my dismay that the recent deterioration of service on the 2/3 line continues apace.  I waited several minutes on a crowded platform, only to be unable to board the 3 that finally arrived because it was so jammed.  A 2 was a minute or so behind it, yet it was jammed too. This time I somehow wedged onboard for a slow, generally miserable ride to Fulton.

Things were better after work.  I waited under a minute for a 3 at Park Place and it was crowded but within tolerability limits.  Two women standing near me were discussing their upcoming participation in a triathalon, it was a bit surprising because neither one looked especially athletic.  I got to Penn in plenty of time for the 5:41 to Ronkonkoma, and had a rather unusual experience.  Shortly after I took a seat a woman of about 35 sat down next to me.  Within 10 or 15 seconds she got up and sat in the aisle seat of the row directly behind me.  This was not a classic Look of Love situation, first of all because she didn’t really look at me, second because she was already fully seated when she got up (in the classic LoL the woman’s rump never actually contacts the seat).  What in the world was it about me that caused her to move?  There was enough room, we never made any physical contact, and I was sitting quietly reading and not squirming or anything.  Nor did she appear to know the younger woman who was occupying the window seat in the aisle behind me.  You can imagine the worries which arose.  Do I look weird or anything? What made it even harder to figure out was the fact that she never really got a clear look at me.  Whatever the case, I was filled with dread, certain – certain! – that an elephantine SCA would take the newly vacated seat and turn the trip into a living nightmare.  Thankfully that did not come to pass.  A reasonably sized 40ish man took the seat, and got off in Hicksville.  I had an easy enough ride, as in the morning spent reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb (I’m now up to 1940 and the discovery of plutonium).  We got to Ronkonkoma and the shuttle right on time, though I noticed on the electric schedule signs that the chronically late 7:11 (the 5:53 out of Penn) was living true to form today, being reported as 11 minutes late.  Chances are that means at least 20 minutes.

Gym: I did just a few pull=ups today, going back to the customary hands-facing-away grip.  1 x 6, 4 x 4.  I then ran two miles on the treadmill at 5.4 mph.

Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 4:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, November 1

Whew.  A full-body session that went very well, except at the end.  I began with trap bar deadlifts, which for the time being I’ve settled upon as a substitute for squats.  Not that I dislike squats, but I like doing trap bar deadlifts more, and as they’re a reasonable alternative to squats I’ll probably stick with them for a while.  And I certainly did quite a few today: 8 x 225, 8 x 265, 6 x 285, 6 x 305, 4 x 315, 6 x 275, 8 x 255.  That’s 46 total reps, most definitely a lot for this particular exercise.  Next, I did some pull-ups, for variety’s sake going back to the neutral grip version instead of the hands-facing-away version I’ve been doing: 1 x 8, 3 x 6.  Neutral grips definitely are easier than the other version, probably because there’s more bicep involvement.  Next came dips, 4 x 12 x bodyweight.  The down note came at the end, when I tried SLDL’s.  A first attempt at 225 went nowhere, as did some experiments with successively lighter weights.  I finally was able to do some at a pathetic 145 pounds, 4 x 8 x 145.  Almost certainly that was because of all the trap bar deadlifts.  Even at such a light weight it’s better than nothing and I should be able to handle my usual amounts next time.

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, October 31

Not much of a session today.  All I did was run two miles on the treadmill at 5.4 mph, no weights.  When I arrived at about 6 the gym was nearly deserted. Saturday evenings are quiet at the best of times, and today was Halloween, and when I arrived there were only two other patrons in the gym.

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 10:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Friday, October 30

At least it wasn’t cold

It was a bit surprising that the usually reliable shuttle was ten minutes late at Medford this morning.  The automatic PA announcement was reporting it to be on time, so I went up to the platform a couple minutes before its scheduled time.  The locomotive headlight can be seen a couple miles off to the east when it approaches, but this morning there was nothing to see.  Had it been colder I would have returned to my car to wait, but it was just warm enough that I figured I’d stay on the platform.  It got into Ronkonkoma just about 7, and the 6:56 to Flatbush Avenue had already departed.  The 7:04 to Penn made stops at Hicksville and Mineola to accommodate any shuttle riders heading to those stop, as the 6:56 makes them but the 7:04 normally does not.  What I don’t understand is why the dispatchers didn’t hold the 6:56 for an extra five minutes until the shuttle arrived.  Having the 7:04 make extra stops made it that late, or almost that late, and it’s a busier train than the 6:56.  Go figure.  In any event, I had a decent enough ride, with a 50ish woman taking the seat next to me at Deer Park.  It was a bit distracting because her hair (surely dyed) was a sort of purplish-red color that most definitely does not occur in nature.  If it had been a bit more garish she might have been on her way to an office Halloween party, but despite its odd shade it was too subdued to be part of a costume.  I just can’t figure out what led her to choose such a peculiar hue.  Mulling this over didn’t distract me from reading, as I made decent progress in The Making of the Atomic Bomb. I’m up to the point in 1938 and 1939 where some of the scientists are trying to get the U.S. government involved, aware that newly discovered nuclear fission may be used for weapons, but of course the government bureaucrats can’t grasp that point.  Sounds like the same sort of cluelessness that now characterizes LIRR management.  Some things never change, do they?  In any event, we got into Penn about five minutes late thanks to the aforementioned extra stops, however the wait for a 2 train to Park Place was less than a minute and the train wasn’t all that crowded.

More good luck on the subway after work, with a short wait for a 2 at Park Place and again not much crowding.  The 5:41 to Ronkonkoma seemed pretty jammed, with plenty of SCA’s in sight, fortunately an older man of normal size sat next to me and left me with sufficient room.  He was traveling with his wife, who was in the seat directly in front of him, and while they talked quite a bit my iPod came to the rescue.  I got more reading done, and we were in Ronkonkoma right on time.  Unlike the morning, the shuttle was on time too.

Gym: a 3-mile run on the treadmill at 54 mph.

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)