Saturday, January 30

Not much to do today, with the licensing test being over.  In fact I’m facing over a week of idleness until the intensive sales training begins on February 8.  Though I’ve passed the test, it will take a couple weeks for the state to issue the license, so I can’t yet do any sales solicitation. It’s been years and years since I’ve had so much time on my hands without any work-related responsibilities. Guess I’ll have to use the next week in a productive manner, in other words doing stuff other than watching junk on TV, playing Super Mario Galaxy, and of course wandering through the vast quagmire of the blogosphere.

Today’s gym session was relatively short but decent.  I did some more of the machine-related upper body exercises that I’d done the other day, still not being quite ready to take the plunge and resume bench presses.  Precor machine flies: 10 x 115, 10 x 120, 10 x 125, 10 x 130.  These went well and represented a decent weight increase from last time.  Life Fitness triceps pushdowns: 4 x 8 x 100.  This was a different machine than I used the last time and so the weight amounts aren’t directly comparable.  I also ellipted for 40 minutes at a reasonably fast pace with moderate resistance.

Published in: on January 31, 2010 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday, January 29

Today’s travel experience was not a pleasant one, though everything worked out fine in the end.  I was scheduled to take the state licensing exam at 2:30 … or so I thought. Just after 1:30 I took a second look at the admissions printout and saw to my dismay that it actually was at 2:00.  There was a warning that latecomers would not be admitted.  The test was being held at a testing center in the Hauppague industrial park, about 10 or so miles away.  As I bolted toward the car I figured I had just barely enough time.  What I wasn’t counting was a big construction delay on the Expressway.  Fortunately, I spotted the delay just before I got on the entrance ramp, and was able to stay on the service road for a few miles until I was able to enter past the construction area.  This caused some delays of its own, however, as I got stuck at two endlessly long red lights.  Or at least they seemed endless. Once I finally got on the Expressway traffic wasn’t too heavy.  I may have sort of somewhat broken a speed limit or two on my way to Exit 54.  My troubles still weren’t over, as there were at least five or six more lights between the exit and the testing site, and naturally I got most of them red.  I finally pulled into the parking lot a few minutes after two and (literally) ran into the testing center.  Would they turn me away? As it turned out, my haste was unnecessary, as I had to wait a few minutes until the clerk could register me and assign me to a computer.  She never mentioned a thing about time.  In fact it probably wouldn’t have mattered had I arrived at 2:30 as I originally had planned.  My guess is that the dire warning about latecomers isn’t really enforced.

Gym: I arrived around 5 and had a decent leg session.  Precor leg extensions: 8 x 175, 8 x 180, 8 x 185, 8 x 190, 8 x 195, 8 x 200.  SLDL’s: 8 x 195, 8 x 205, 8 x 210, 8 x 215.  Lying leg curls: 2 x 6 x 100.  Seated leg curls: 2 x 8 x 185.  I don’t like the lying variety, but the seated curl machine was in use and I didn’t want to wait.  Just as I was finishing the second lying set the seated machine was freed up.

Oh, as for the licensing test.  I passed with no trouble, getting an 88 with a 70 being passing.  While there were 2 1/2 hours allowed for the test (150 questions, one minute per question), I was done with the whole thing in 33 minutes.  My next step is getting a Series 7 securities license, which would allow me to sell variable life policies and variable annuities.  Agents for the company aren’t required to have 7’s, but having one makes it possible to earn higher commissions.  From what I understand, the 7 exam is much harder than the insurance licensing test and requires considerably more study.

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 4:52 am  Comments (2)  

Thursday, January 28

Another travel-less day, with more time spent preparing for tomorrow’s licensing exam.  I’m pretty much ready to go, though to be on the safe side I’ll spend an hour or so tomorrow morning on a last-minute review.  The gym was definitely on the crowded side when I arrived around 4:30, though it appears as if most of the people were regulars as opposed to the New Year’s resolution crowd.  My left shoulder being mostly better, I debated for a while whether to risk some bench presses but finally decided to wait a bit longer.  Instead, I did some chest and triceps work which, while no substitute for benching, at least will accomplish something.   Flies on the Precor machine came first: 4 x 10 x 110, 2 x 10 x 105.  To make these a bit more challenging I tried to keep the weight from touching the stack at the bottom of each rep, thereby maintaining constant tension.  It certainly created quite a burning sensation!  For triceps, I started with rope pushdowns, 3 x 10 x 100, and then moved onto this machine (I can’t recall its name) that involved pushing down handles while resting the elbows on a preacher bench, 3 x 8 x 50.  I also ellipted for 40 minutes at a decent clip, and did some work on both the speed bag and the heavy bag.

Published in: on January 29, 2010 at 10:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, January 27

No travel today, as I await Friday’s licensing exam.  I went to the gym in the early afternoon and did the back work that I had planned to do yesterday.  Not too crowded today. Same exercises as last week, but with the weights pushed up a bit.  Deadlifts: 6 x 6 x 245.  Cable rows: 2 x 8 x 190, 2 x 6 x 180, 2 x 6 x 170.  I ellipted for 20 minutes and finished with kettlebell swings, 2 x 10 with a 50-pounder.

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, January 26

I went into work about 1:30 to take a company exam, passing which is a prerequisite for being allowed to take the state licensing exam. Westbound traffic on the expressway was about the same as it usually has been later in the afternoon.  I had thought it might be a bit lighter, but that wasn’t the case.  When I left around 4 – yes, I passed the test quite handily – I decided for variety’s sake to head south to the Southern State Parkway (technically called the Southern Parkway, but everyone adds the “State”), connecting to the Sunrise Parkway.  Traffic wasn’t too bad even though it was the start of rush hour, though the route was longer than taking the Expressway.  Still, it’s a useful alternative in case the Expressway is hors d’combat. There’s a connecting route between the Expressway and the Southern State, the Sagtikos Parkway, which makes the alternative more workable.

I had really wanted to go to the gym for some deadlifting and rows, but was just too worn out.

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 3:57 am  Comments (5)  

Monday, January 25

Just because I no longer ride the Long Island Rail Road does not mean that I am unaffected by its world-class idiocy.  In fact, what happened today may well manifest a higher (lower?) level of idiocy than any of the typical smoke-condition-in-the-tunnels long delays.  A bit of background: in my prior job, I was enrolled in the LIRR’s Mail & Ride program, under which money for my monthly tickets was deducted from my pay and I got the tickets in the mail.  Lo and behold, what do I see in the mail today but my monthly ticket for February, notwithstanding the fact that I haven’t had any pay from which to deduct the fare since November.  I had gotten January’s ticket in late December, but attributed that to a possible time lag in pay schedules and ticket deductions.  No such time lag could account for getting the February ticket.  Basically, the only conclusion is that the LIRR is sending me $300+ tickets for free, all at a time when they’re constantly crying poormouth (the Ronkonkoma-Greenport shuttle that serves Medford has been proposed for the chopping block yet again).  I’ll send back the February ticket (and January’s, which I still have) to see if I can get refunds, though since I didn’t pay for either ticket any refunds will be found money.  While I’ll be spending far more on gasoline for my new job than before, I’m not about to complain.  Not having to deal with LIRR idiocy will be a metaphorical breath of fresh air.

Yoga at the gym tonight.  I’m really getting into it.

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, January 24

More studying for the license exam.  Keeping track of all these new concepts is confusing, but I’m sure I’ll be able to get them down in time for the test.  Another 60-minute ellipting session at the gym, at a slightly faster pace than yesterday.

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 23

Who’d have thought that my first experience with a major traffic tie-up would occur on a Saturday morning?  Heading into a 9 am training session, I noticed that the automated messageboards were announcing that the Expressway was closed from exits 48 to 46 and that all traffic had to use the service road.  Okay, I think, that won’t affect me, seeing as how I get off at Exit 49, which is a mile or more before Exit 48. I also noticed what at first looked like a dark cloud bank on the western horizon.  As I headed farther west I realized it was thick black smoke rather than clouds, though for some reason – my brain was a bit fuzzy, it being early and everything – I didn’t put two and two together and associate the smoke with the road closure.  What I did think is that maybe it would be better to be safe than sorry and therefore I should get off onto the service road at Exit 50.  After all, it wasn’t impossible that the delay could spill back as far as Exit 49 and end up delaying me.  Needless to say, I did not do that, and just after passing Exit 50 I encountered traffic that was barely moving at all. It took me over a half-hour to travel just one mile to Exit 49, which as it turns out was the exit where traffic was being diverted onto the service road.  I got to the training session almost 45 minutes late, fortunately so many other people were delayed that the instructor delayed the start of the session.  It turns out that a gasoline tanker had overturned and exploded in the eastbound lanes between exits 49 and 48, incinerating the driver and creating so hot of a fireball that a huge overhead gantry sign spanning the entire width of the road (and which contained one of those electric messageboards) came crashing down and nearly landed on some firefighters.   The westbound lanes were closed for almost ten hours, while the eastbound lanes actually had to be repaved and didn’t reopen until late at night.  Getting home at noon, at least, was easy.

Gym: all I did today was ellipt, but I did a lot of it – a full hour, at a decent pace and resistance level.  If the machine’s calorie counter is to be believed, I burned up over 1,000 calories.

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 4:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, January 22

No training session today, though I did quite a bit of reading for the upcoming license exam.  I went to the gym around 3:30 and had a tough but satisfying leg session.  Life Fitness leg extensions: 3 x 8 x 190, 2 x 8 x 195.  Seated leg curls: 2 x 8 x 185, 2 x 8 x 190.  SLDL’s: 8 x 185, 8 x 190, 8 x 195, 8 x 200.  Kettlebell swings: 2 x 10 with a 50-pounder.  I also did two sessions on the heavy bag, a punching session of about seven or eight minutes and then ten minutes of kicking.

Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, January 21

Well that was odd.  Around 3 pm I went to Ikea in Hicksville, about five miles on the Expressway past my workplace, and to my surprise traffic in both directions was significantly heavier than during my usual travel time of 5 pm.  It would seem logical that traffic would be lighter at 3 because fewer people are heading home from work.  There may be some jobs that get out that early, but not many, right?  It was close to 5 by the time I left Ikea and I didn’t want to take any chances with eastbound traffic, so I used surface street (Old Country Road, most of the way) to get to the workplace in Melville.  It should go without saying that traffic was heavy, but it probably worked out better than the Expressway would have.  When I left at 9 to head back home, traffic was, as usual, relatively light.

Earlier in the afternoon I had a very short gym trip.  I started running on the treadmill at 5.4 mph, intending to do at least two miles, but got only one mile in before a call required me to cut the session short.

Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 4:33 am  Leave a Comment