Wednesday, April 28

Today was not one of my better days.  My sore throat was worse than ever, and now was accompanied by all sorts of head congestion.  Come to think of it, I was fully expecting my entire head to explode from the pressure in a massive strawberry-colored cloud, leaving nothing above shoulder level except a bit of neck stump. As events transpired, my head in fact did not explode, and I actually was able to get some work done over the phone and on the computer. This included completion of the registration process for the upcoming Strawberry Festival in the North Fork … it just occurred to me that this is surely the first time I’ve used the word “strawberry” twice in a single blog post, albeit in very different contexts.

Going to the gym wasn’t even a remote possibility.  I don’t like falling behind schedule, but sometimes that’s unavoidable.

Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, April 27

I didn’t have to go into work today, though I did some work over the telephone and computer.  Not having to drive in traffic suited me just fine, as yesterday’s sore throat was still poking around.  While at first I thought that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the gym, by late afternoon I was willing to risk a short visit, starting a new bench press routine.  Bench press?  Even though I’ve been doing dips for chest and triceps work the siren call of the bench press was too much to resist.  To apply the new routine, I had to figure out my one-rep maximum (1RM), the most I can bench for a single rep.  A few years ago I benched 285, but because I’m out of practice I figured that it was best to be conservative and assume a 1RM of 255.  The routine calls for four sets of three at 80% of 1RM, one rep at 87.5%, and as many reps as possible at 60%.  After rounding a bit this worked out to 4 x 3 x 205, 1 x 225, 11 x 165.  I also did a few warmup sets, 4 x 135, 4 x 155, 4 x 185.  All in all it went fine, and here’s hoping I’ll stick with the routine and see my pathetic bench get a little less pathetic.

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 3:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, April 26

Driving in rush hour traffic is a lousy experience.  Driving in heavy rain is a lousy experience.  Driving in rush hour traffic during a heavy rain, you get the point.  My drive into work in the late morning was no bother, as it was well after rush hour and it wasn’t raining at the time.  I zoomed right along and made the trip in just about a half-hour.  Today was the day that agents were being assigned to mall kiosks during May.  When I had signed up (and paid, of course) for kiosk duty last week my choice was between a mega-mall with enormous amounts of foot traffic, or an ordinary sized mall that isn’t nearly as busy.  While it seems like an obvious choice, I had guessed that so many people would be choosing the mega-mall that there would be substantially fewer hours available than in the case of the smaller mall.  Correct guess.  Today I ended up getting almost twice the number of assigned hours in May that the mega-mall agents got.  With some luck this should translate into a decent number of leads.  Once the mall pick was over I did some other stuff and went to a meeting, and ended up heading home just before five.  By this time it was pouring rain, and of course it was rush hour, suffice to say that the drive home was just plain awful.  It took over an hour, in other words more than twice as long as the reverse trip had taken in the late morning.  As best I can recall I never went over 30 or 35 mph at any time during the 20-mile Expressway segment, and was at a dead stop on several occasions.  What made matters worse was that I was developing a nasty sore throat, which was bad enough to keep me out of the gym for the evening.

Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 11:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, April 25

Today’s scheduled publicity event was canceled on account of rain.  While it means that I won’t be getting any leads today, I’m actually glad that the event wasn’t held notwithstanding the inclement weather.  Had that been the case attendance might have been significantly reduced, and I would have paid the participation fee (you didn’t think insurance agents get to participate in events for free, did you?) yet gotten few leads in return.  I should be able to participate in a similar event in a little over a month’s time.  Let’s hope the weather will be nicer.

Another fortunate thing about the cancellation is that I got to go to the gym at a nice civilized time in the early afternoon, instead of having to go early in the morning.  As I’ve noted, I am not one of these people who enjoys early morning exercise, and more to the point cannot comprehend why anyone does.  Just the other day I was at the cat food store – a major drain on my finances, that’s for sure – and the clerk recognized me from the gym.  We talked for a while about how weird it is that many people will exercise literally before the crack of dawn.  It made no sense to either of us.  In any event, today was Leg Day, and it went pretty well.  Trap bar deadlifts: 4 x 6 x 265.  No trouble here.  Seated calf raises: 4 x 12 x 150.  SLDL’s: 3 x 8 x 175.  Yes, I was able to do SLDL’s again, after last week’s unsuccessful attempt. Keeping the weight low probably helped, as did having a rest day yesterday.  Precor leg extensions: 3 x 8 x 215.  Life Fitness seated leg curls: 3 x 8 x 195.  Kettlebell swings: 3 x 10 with a 50-pounder.

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, April 24

Like the line at Customs, today is a nothing-to-declare sort of thing.  I wasn’t able to make contact with the prospect in the Bronx and therefore did not go there and obviously did not make the sale.  This doesn’t mean that he’s flaked out for good, there’s always the chance he’ll go through with the purchase in the near future.  As for the gym, I considered going on more than one occasion throughout the day but never actually went.  This is attributable in part to laziness, can’t deny that, but more to a couple of aches and pains that I wanted to let heal.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday, April 23

No traffic troubles today, as I managed to drive outside of rush hour both ways, going into work about 10 and returning at 2:30.  Traffic actually seemed on the light side even given the times of day.  I was glad that I didn’t have to deal with any traffic nonsense, as my workday didn’t go too well.  My planned sales appointment in the Bronx tomorrow looks to be in jeopardy, as I wasn’t able to make contact with the customer.  This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s backed out, but the possibility exists.  It’s not as if the sale is going to produce any huge commission, as it involves a relatively small term policy, but every bit of money helps.  On a different note, I’m scheduled to work at a publicity event on Sunday, something that should lead to a decent number of commissions.  Unfortunately, it’s weather-dependent, and it looks as if Sunday is going to be a complete washout.  I should know better by tomorrow.

Gym: I wasn’t really in the mood to do any weights, or run, but I did 40 minutes on the stationary cycle at a decent clip of 19.5 mph.

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 1:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, April 22

Didn’t have to go into the office today, though I did some work on the phone and computer.  I brought my car into one of those 20-minute oil change places that charges $25 for an oil change.  It took a bit more than 20 minutes … and a lot more than 25 bucks.  In addition to the usual extras such as an air cleaner and wiper blades, they got me to spring about $75 for front and rear differential service.  Subaru recommends that service at 35,000 or 40,000 miles, I don’t remember which, but in any event my car is at 44,000 and change.  Having all wheel drive also means having two differentials.  At least I got the work done quickly enough, and now that I have to do a considerable amount of driving for work it’s important that my car is running well.

My gym trip was an unusual one, as it consisted of two segments separated by a couple of hours.  Partway through the session I realized there were a couple of important calls I had to make, and naturally enough the files were in the house rather than in my car.  So I headed back home to make the calls; one thing lead to another and over two hours passed before I went back to the gym to finish the session.  Overhead presses: 4 x 8 x 110.  Dips: 5 x 10 x bodyweight + 25, 2 x 12 x bodyweight.  Cable curls: 4 x 10 x 140.  I also ran one mile on the treadmill at 5.6 mph and did 2o minutes on the stationary cycle at 19.2 mph.  As for the segment split, the treadmill run, the overhead presses, and the first set of dips took place in the first segment, and the rest after I came back.

Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, April 21

Today there were no traffic follies like those I encountered yesterday morning.  Granted, I went into work around 11:30, meaning I was well outside of rush hour.  There was a lane closure near Exit 61 that surprisingly caused no delays at all, no doubt a sign that traffic was lighter than usual even for the middle of the day.  Just a couple of weeks ago an eastbound lane closure near Exit 52 caused near-chaos even in the midday hours.  I didn’t have to stay at work long, just a couple of hours, which meant that my return trip was before rush hour.  One of the things I did was make inquiries into getting an exhibit for an upcoming business expo.  Turns out that they’re charging over a thousand dollars for a small booth and two chairs, with electricity and Internet access being additional.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I’d have to get a vast number of leads for that to be a workable proposition, but of course there are no guarantees when it comes to lead generation.

I got to the gym in the late afternoon for a fairly satisfying back session.  Neutral grip pull-ups: 4 x 4, 3 x 3.  Standing calf machine shrugs: 4 x 10 x 400.  One-arm dumbbell rows: 4 x 8 x 110/110.  Deadlifts: 5 x 6 x 245.  Everything went well, even though in a change from usual practice I did the deadlifts last instead of first.

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, April 20

Today’s drive into work featured a ripple effect of sorts.  By “ripple” I don’t mean Fred Sanford’s favorite cheap wine, but the type of ripples you’ll see in water.  When I got on the Expressway about 9:15, traffic was miserably slow, what you’d expect to see an hour earlier in the heart of rush hour.  Why was everyone on the road at this time?  It wasn’t until later that I found out the Southern State Parkway had been closed due to a fatal pedestrian accident. Traffic had been diverted onto the Expressway, which parallels the Southern State about ten miles to its north, and that was the cause of the very heavy traffic I’d encountered.  I just barely made it to my 10 am training session on time.  And these are not the sort of things for which one wants to be late!

While at the session I found out that I could work XYZ Insurance’s information kiosk at the local shopping mall.  The shift would run from 3:30 until 9:30, which gave me enough time to head home after the training ended at noon.  Traffic coming back was nothing out of the ordinary, the Southern State presumably having reopened in the interim.  Working at the kiosk was not particularly productive in terms of getting a high number of leads, it was definitely not a busy evening in the mall, but I got one promising one that might, if everything works out okay, translate into a fair bit of business.  During some of the slower times I got some interesting tricks of the trade from the experienced agent who was working with me.  I related the story of my recent porching in the Bronx, and he said that it was all for the best.  When people in poorer neighborhoods ask for information on college funding, they’re usually just trying to get XYZ Insurance to pay for their kids’ education, which is hardly the way insurance works.  Had I not been porched,  in all likelihood I would have listened to their requests for money and obviously wouldn’t have sold anything.  All in all the mall session was an interesting experience, though by the time I got home it was too late for a meaningful gym session.

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, April 19

A mixed bag in terms of driving today.  I left for work a bit before noon, and for the most part traffic was at its mid-day lull.  No slowdowns at all in the westbound direction, though there was a moderate eastbound delay approaching Exit 52.  What was strange about this delay is that it was caused by construction work located completely off the Expressway on the exit ramp. Cars were backed up far enough that they blocked the right lane.  There’s like no way to win.  By the time I left work, just before 6 pm, the heaviest rush hour traffic had dissipated, but it was still relatively slow going most of the way.  The 25-mile drive took me close to 45 minutes.

One slight drawback of being in the sales industry is that not enough people say “no.”  This is not meant as some ironic joke.  It would be much easier if people who weren’t interested in life insurance (or other things that other people sell) would simply say no.  What happens instead is that they say “I’ll think about it,” or say that they’re busy right now but will call you back in a few minutes (of course, they never do), or simply use their voice mail to screen out calls.  Mind you, these aren’t cold calls, but people who’ve indicated by various means that they are interested in hearing more about our products.  What I believe happens is that many people think that a forthright “no” is impolite.  It isn’t.  Salespeople would much rather hear a direct “no” and move onto other prospects, than to keep working a prospect who does not indicate his or her lack of interest.

Gym: Well, I wanted to run on the treadmill, new sneakers and all, but as soon as I tried my legs felt as if they were made of lead.  No doubt this was a consequence of yesterday’s extensive leg work.  Using the stationary cycle was tolerable, so as an alternative I did 40 minutes at a 19 mph pace.

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment