Tuesday, March 27 – Wednesday, March 28

Decent numbers; and, what to avoid
It is basic human nature that people are compelled to look at things they shouldn’t.  Put up a sign on the sidewalk saying “Don’t look here” and passerby will be getting sore necks from turning to look.  Even so, it may not be entirely impossible for free will to overcome aspects of human nature.  I refer, of course, to the blogospheric obsession with the Trayvon Martin case. Although I am drawn to the endless number of postings analyzing every minute aspect of this case, I have (so far) been able to overcome this natural attraction and am avoiding these parts of the blogosphere as much as possible.  And I’m glad I’ve done so!

Nothing noteworthy happened at work either of these days.  I went into the relatively nearby satellite office and put in my time.  One thing I’ve noticed about this office, a consequence of its physical design and ambient noise level, is that it’s easy – indeed, unavoidable – to overhear other workers.  There also are a couple of people who seem to take the basic human love of gossip and ratchet it up about a hundred notches.  As is the case with the blogospheric discussions noted in the prior paragraph, I do not want to hear this gossip, I have less interest in it than I do in the 2004 Turkmenistan cotton harvest.  Fortunately, after the first couple of hours I developed the ability to tune it out as much as possible.

I didn’t go to the gym on Tuesday, but I had a very good session on Wednesday evening.  I began with T-bar rows: 8 x 145, 8 x 150, 8 x 155, 8 x 160, 8 x 165, 8 x 170.  The set at 170 is  a new record, at least as far as I remember.  A few years back I was on a T-bar row spell for a while and might have gotten 170, I just don’t remember for sure.  After the rows came a fairly quick bench press session: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 8 x 225.  As has happened before, when I was midway through the set at 225 I briefly thought I might be able to hit my goal of ten reps, but on the seventh and especially the eighth reps I knew that wasn’t going to be the case tonight.

Published in: on March 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, March 26

The inanity of the blogosphere never ceases to amaze me

The Zimmerman-Martin case seems to have brought the extreme idiocy of the blogosphere to the forefront.  I’m not going to rehash all of the twaddle that’s spewed out of its metaphorical pie hole, a quick perusal of Half Sigma will give you more than you wanted to see.  All I’ll say is that human idiocy knows no bounds.

Not too much remarkable about work today.  I worked mostly out of the nearby satellite office, which helps save on gasoline.  In some respects it’s better than working at home, as I don’t have as many distractions.  It wasn’t a long workday, as I was able to get quite a bit accomplished in a relatively short amount of time.

Gym: Even though I benched just last Saturday, I was inspired enough to bench again this evening.  As is often the case on Monday evenings, the gym was packed, but I was able to find a free bench.  There are five flat benches (in addition to two incline benches and three decline benches), but one of them freed up just as I arrived.  Nice timing.  My benching also was pretty nice: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 4 x 185, 2 x 205, 6 x 235, 2 x 5 x 225, 10 x 185.  Six at 235 isn’t a record, but close.  I was pleased with it, that’s for sure.


Published in: on March 27, 2012 at 3:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, March 24 – Sunday, March 25

I still wasn’t back to 100% on Saturday and for most of the day had my doubts about going to the gym.  Around 6 in the evening, however, I finally decided to give it a try, not going for any records or anything, but just doing the best I could.  It was a smart decision.  My bench press session was not earth-shattering, but certainly respectable: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 4 x 185, 2 x 205, 4 x 4 x 225, 10 x 185, 12 x 135.

Later that evening I watched boxing on HBO.  And was reminded, not that I really needed any reminder, that people who complain about NBA referees who won’t call fouls on superstars or MLB umpires with wildly inconsistent strike zones should be thankful that the officiating in those sports (and others) are not as hopelessly corrupt and incompetent as in boxing.  Google “Kirkland-Molina stoppage” if you want to read the whole sorry story for yourself.

Sunday was a mostly lazy day, my mid-afternoon gym excursion being my only trip out of the house all day.  I did T-bar rows, my new favorite exercise: 8 x 145, 8 x 150, 8 x 155, 8 x 160, 2 x 8 x 165, 8 x 145.  The 165 represents a new high on this exercise.  My goal is to get to 180, which will be four plates on the apparatus.

Published in: on March 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, March 21 – Friday, March 23

Pardon the short post

Really not much to say about these three days.  I was most definitely feeling under the weather, especially on Wednesday and Thursday, so I was very thankful that I was able to work from home.  Making the long drive into Nassau County would’ve been nearly intolerable.  Granted, I had to deal with several major distractions at home, aka the cats, but somehow I was able to persevere and actually get some work done.

Going to the gym was completely out of the question on Wednesday and Thursday.  By the time Friday came along I was doing somewhat better, but finally decided to give it one more day.

Published in: on March 25, 2012 at 1:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, March 19 – Tuesday, March 20

Some very welcome news

It looks like I’ll be able to work from a satellite office not far from me and maybe do some work from home too.  As my sales work in the commercial division is done by telephone and computer it isn’t necessary for me to schlep into the main office in Nassau County every day.  This is very, very fortunate because my trips into that office on these two days were excruciating.  On Monday morning the 45-mile trip took about 1:45.  While I never spent more than a couple minutes at a time at a dead stop on the Expressway, there were many, many stretches when I crawled along at no more than 20 mph.  Even worse, it took nearly a half hour to cover the three or four miles from the exit to my (new) workplace.  Why, you ask?  It’s a very simple story: too many cars and too few roads.  Also too many traffic lights, one of which was apocalyptically evil. Getting home was somewhat easier, about 90 minutes.  Though that’s still beyond absurd for a 45-mile trip that’s almost all on a limited access expressway.

Now, if you think Monday was bad, Tuesday was even worse.  The morning trip took over two hours!  Just the few miles between exits 62 and 56 took over 30 minutes, and like Monday it took an eternity to get to the workplace once I exited the Expressway.  Getting home was similar to Monday. Truly, having to deal with these morning drives every day would drive me nuts in short order, so it came as a massive relief to learn that I won’t have to do so on a regular basis.

Too worn out for the gym both nights.  What a surprise!

Published in: on March 22, 2012 at 3:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, March 17 – March 18

Hey, a weekend that’s actually a weekend, in other words a time off from work.  That’s a strange notion!  I didn’t do much of anything on Saturday.  No, I didn’t wear any green either, even though I’m about one-quarter Irish.  On Sunday I got in a decent back and bench press session.  T-bar rows: 8 x 135, 8 x 140, 8 x 145, 8 x 150, 8 x 155, 8 x 160.  Bench press: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 4 x 185, 4 x 205, 1 x 235, 6 x 225.  I was going to do another set or two of rows after the benching but the T-bar machine was in constant use.


Published in: on March 22, 2012 at 3:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, March 14 – Friday, March 16

Well this is certainly going to be quite a change

There isn’t much point in spending time on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s activities because what happened on Friday rendered them more or less irrelevant.  Suffice to say that they were decent if not outstanding days, Wednesday being at a Major Home Improvement Center store not far from me and Thursday at my “home” store.  Or former home store, as shall be seen.

When I went into the office on Friday morning to get my paycheck a big surprise was afoot.  Starting Monday I am being transferred to the company’s commercial and industrial sales division.  No more working displays in MHIC stores.  I’ll be working out of an office, dealing with customers primarily over the phone and on the computer.  The good news is that my base salary will increase by about one-third, needless to say I am very pleased about that fact.  My commissions should increase too, though I’m not going to jump to any conclusions until I see just how things play out.  Though even if my commissions remain mostly the same the significantly increased base makes this a very positive development from a financial standpoint.

The fact that I mentioned “the good news” in the preceding paragraph should be a tip-off that there will be a downside to this change.  It turns out that office where I will be working is in Nassau County.  And not just over the Suffolk line, either, but in the far reaches of western Nassau.  Google Maps shows it to be a 40+ mile drive each way.  Even more to the point, I’ll be working a standard Monday-Friday schedule, and therefore will have to deal with Expressway rush hour traffic twice every day.*  Ugh. I know, I know, I’m not special, huge numbers of people have to deal with rush hour traffic every day (actually, if it weren’t for all these people dealing with rush hour there wouldn’t be such a thing as rush hour, duh).  It’ll just take quite a bit of getting-used-to.

How I’ll occupy myself during the drive is another issue, as broadcast radio is utterly unlistenable and I don’t have satellite radio.  Maybe some books on CD.  Whatever the case, I shouldn’t complain, this will be a nice step up in occupational terms, and being in an office environment will be a change from working in retail stores.

Gym: on Thursday evening I did some bench pressing, unfortunately I wasn’t quite ready for my goal of ten at 225.  It was still a good session: 6 x 135, 4 x 165, 4 x 185, 2 x 205, 1 x 235, 8 x 225, 4 x 235, 2 x 245, 6 x 225, 10 x 185, 12 x 135.

* = in theory I could make the trip by train, but it would require a connection and actually some backtracking, and would make for a very long day.  Still, I’m glad the possibility exists.

Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, March 12 – Tuesday, March 13

I didn’t do much of consequence on either of these two days off, unless you count a not-very-successful attempt at making potatoes au gratin on Monday.  They weren’t bad, just a bit on the dry side.  As for my gym trips, they were definitely more successful than my culinary exploits.  I went late in the evening on Monday, for a “maintenance” bench press session.  In other words, I wasn’t trying to reach my goal of 10 x 225, or even have that hard of a session.  It was meant to be a light session to keep my numbers from slipping.  I ended up doing 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 6 x 225, 10 x 185, 12 x 135.  As I was doing the fourth and fifth reps at 225 they were going so well that I actually thought for a moment that I might be able to go for ten and hit my goal sooner than imagined.  Everything changed when I started the sixth rep, however.  It was a real struggle and obviously would be my last one of the set.

On Tuesday I went in the mid-afternoon and did some leg work.  It started out with squats, with better numbers than last week: 6 x 185, 6 x 225, 2 x 6 x 245, 2 x 6 x 225.  Once again, proper depth on all of the reps.  One thing about squats is that they are an exhausting sweaty exercise in a way that even bench presses aren’t.  It’s clear that they are a full-body exercise at least on a par with deadlifts.  Based on what I’ve heard the Olympic lifts are even more draining, though the gym doesn’t have a platform for doing them and I’ve never given them a try.  I also did seated calf raises, 4 x 12 x 150, and Life Fitness seated leg presses, 3 x 10 x 395. In addition to the back work I also did some T-bar rows, nothing heavy, 4 x 8 x 135.

Published in: on March 14, 2012 at 3:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, March 9 – Sunday, March 11

An event, and a new location

Friday was not one of my more interesting days.  I was at a relatively nearby Major Home Improvement Center store, one where I’ve usually had decent results, but today I really struggled to get people interested.  In this store I have a table in front of my display, which has materials on other services which the MHIC offers, yet it didn’t do much in terms of attracting attention.  I spoke to fewer customers today than is usually the case. It might have been because today was a Friday.  Going to the local MHIC is a weekend-project sort of thing for many customers, so it makes sense that Fridays are on the slow side.  Working a nonstandard schedule as I do makes it easy to forget the meanings that various days of the week have for most people.

If Friday had been slow, Saturday was downright hopping.  It was the “Spring Home Show” event at the store where I had planned on going on Thursday.  There were a number of vendors in the store, and each one including me got a table decorated with balloons to help attract attention.  I had a steady stream of customers dropping by all day.  The one downside, as I expected for this store, is that many customers spoke little or no English.  In one case I gave a three- or four-minute presentation with a helpful store employee translating for the customers.  All in all, a very successful day.

Late on Saturday evening I went to the gym for some back work.  Last time I did T-bar rows and really liked doing them, so tonight I did the same instead of pull-ups as I had originally planned.  The rows went very well: 8 x 135, 8 x 145, 8 x 150, 8 x 155, 2 x 8 x 160, 10 x 100.

On Sunday I went for the first time to the one MHIC on my rotation that’s in Nassau County.  Its floor layout is a bit different than most other stores, no doubt an accommodation to the shape of the lot on which it’s located, and more to the point it’s the one store in which my display is not at or near the front end.  It instead is located on the main transverse corridor in the middle of the store, known in MHIC lingo as the “racetrack.”  (Note: a MHIC store near Roosevelt Field Mall, not on my rotation, is known as Raceway.  It presumably has a Raceway racetrack …)  I had some initial misgivings about this location, but they proved unwarranted.  After an hour or so it became evident that most of the customers made it past my location, and more to the point they weren’t in a hurry to check out.  As I’ve noted before, this can be an issue in stores where my display is near the registers. It turned out to be a pretty good day even though the store wasn’t crowded, and the employees were among the friendliest bunch I’ve yet encountered.

Published in: on March 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, March 7 – Thursday, March 8

Changing plans on the fly

Wednesday was my day to go to my “home” Major Home Improvement Center store, the one that wants me there twice a week.  On the way in I stopped at the office to get more supplies.  Refrigerator magnets in particular, as everyone loves refrigerator magnets.  Traffic wasn’t an issue, and I got to the store in less time than I had planned.  Speaking of traffic, for reasons I can’t explain customer traffic in the store was very slow.  I don’t know why, this store is usually quite busy, but today everyone was staying away in droves.  So to speak.  When things aren’t busy, my shift seems to last forever, and today was no exception.

On Thursday I was planning to go to a store about 10 miles away that I’ve only been to once in the past month.  In other words, I really had to make an appearance.  As I pulled into the parking lot, however, I noticed a sign advertising a spring home show event on Saturday.  As obviously I would be going to that event, I decided to go to another store today.  The one I went to, interestingly just a few miles away from my “home” store, is one of the newer ones in Suffolk County and as such is more spacious and open than most others.   My display in this store is not in the front aisle near the registers, but just off the main entrance across from the light bulbs.  That’s actually a good thing.  Most of the people who pass my display have just entered the store and as such may be more prone to stop and see what I’m offering.  They’re not in a hurry to leave, which is often the case with people who pass my next-to-the-registers displays in other stores. Being near the light bulbs helps too, as there seems to be no other part of a MHIC store that gets more customer traffic than the light bulb section.  I suppose that’s because buying light bulbs is more complicated than it used to be, what with incandescents, CFL’s, and LED’s.  And, coming soon, ESL’s (electron stimulated luminescence).

In any event, I was busier than I had been the day before.  This store seems to do pretty good business, which is a bit surprising.  Although it’s next door to a Wal-Mart, it’s in a somewhat out-of-the-way location, you’d never stumble across it by mistake.  I suppose the Wally World is enough of a magnet that people are drawn to the area.  Speaking of that store, after my shift I went there to get a few things, and was very happy to find that two-liter bottles of Diet Rite soda are just a dollar each.  That’s about half the price of diet soda in most supermarkets!

On Thursday evening I went to the gym, ready to do some bench pressing now that the lingering elbow soreness has finally gone.  I was hoping to reach my goal of ten reps at 225, but given that I missed a week I wasn’t expecting that to happen.  Indeed, it didn’t happen.  The best I could do was seven at 225, which is still a very respectable number.  Next time.  What I ended up benching was 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 1 x 235, 7 x 225, 5 x 225, 3 x 225, 10 x 185, 12 x 135.

Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 2:15 am  Leave a Comment