Monthly Archives: October 2016

Strength Training Guides

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For several years now I have been using the training guide over at Bodybuilding.com, with its very useful descriptions of each exercise and videos with narration, to find new ways to train my body. I like the main workout page with its anatomical groupings and hundreds of different forms. The trouble was, like many things out here on the wed, finding detailed and concrete explanations while surfing gets tiring. I decided to invest in some printed guides to save me time and improve my knowledge. There is nothing quite like print anyhow.

Amazon.jp is faster than I would ever have expected. Ordering books on Monday morning at around 11 I got my order the next day at 3:30 in the afternoon. Great service and no shipping fees. It is especially useful for the foreigner looking for English books.

Two books ordered:

Strength Training Anatomy (third edition) by Frederic Delavier

Anatomy for Strength and Fitness Training by Mark Vella

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Even at a glance the former Delavier book is far and away the more superior volume. It’s illustrations, technical detail and variety of exercises make it a must have if you are considering even simple strength training. I especially find his pages on treating injuries and stretching to be excellent. It lacks guidance, in the way of do this or that to work the overall, but gives you what you need for each specific muscle group.

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Vella’s work is much simpler comparatively. The illustrations provide much less detail, mainly showing only the larger muscles. I plan on using it as a reference guide because it does have some material not found in Delavier’s. For example, explanations of how things are named and some exercise ball and yoga stretches which might be useful.

Why am I reading them now? Several years ago I injured the tendons which hold the clavicle (collar bone) in its stabilized position next to the acromion. Since then I have worked to strengthen and improve my overall muscle health. The result was a fascination with how muscles and actions affect the body. I an neither seeking to be a weight lifter or a body builder, but the later is closest. Why? Because I am trying to build my body to do a specific thing, in this case maintain and avoid further injury to a now weakened portion of my body. As I started seeing benefits I started wanting the rest of my body to fall in line, start building up the muscles which will be part of me as long as I can keep in an active lifestyle. Muscles protect bones and keep the metabolistic fires burning. Books like these help me to target muscles and understand my body better as well as keep me from injuring myself through wrong form or excessive weight. I have seen improvements through training, something which didn’t happen while in college. Frequency and knowledge, along side my age, have proved physiological changes can happen if you work at them in a guided, safe way. It’s funny, but all this research and training has also shown me the importance of sleep and nutrition. Your body needs sleep, it’s a no brainer. Yet the better you sleep, the longer time you give for recovery, the better you eat, the more it will impact the workout you might have just done.

The body is a complex thing, much like the mind sitting a top it. Both are susceptible to problems of disease and trauma, fatigue and even rebellion. You never know when things might fall apart, but since God gave it to you then good stewardship seems a logical way to show thankfulness.

This was posted on my blog a good many years ago and people really seemed to enjoy it. Delavier’s book is the one to have-hands down!

 

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Drown My Frown

Drown My Frown

Can’t you hear me

everyone is out on a limb

if this world is falling for certain

I’m not gonna be fat I’ll be slim

dim your lights and open your eyes

see the moon from the outside-but oh how time flies

slippin and slide

can’t you tell me now

believe me I’m the one who should know

do you love me

or are you above see

we’re only equals if we’re equals in love

push and shove

and lovy dove

you look better in the dark

blind men know the beauty of roses

why don’t you give me a spark

that’s the way it goes and

like grains of sand

I guess you hurt me right from the start

can’t you know

make my world go up and downloaded fill me full of silence or sound

knight in armor or I’ll be your clown

drown my frown

pound for pound

I know you when you’re near

hear me

Can’t I know

which way you’ll go

or is this the only way-outburst-was-I-doubt

you’ll tell me

eventually I’ve gotta know

so please, please, please, please

tell me now

I’m waiting

no hesitating

it’s not degrading when I know it’s you

what can I do?

I’ll never lose

we all choose

can’t you let me know

please, please, please, please let me know

Another Odd Trip with Dean Koontz

Reading through Brother Odd, where the main character Odd Thomas is not actually a monk in the monastery he is staying at but is the person everyone relies on to save their skins. His supernatural gifts-seeing the dead, psychic magnetism and in other books quasi-prophetic dreams help him uncover what disaster is going to unfold if he can not stop it. There were some tough things in this book to read, paralleled by equally good things. He spins his tail up to a breaking point. With interesting characters to chat with like Brother Knuckles, Mother Superior Sister Angela and best of all Rodion Romanovich the bearish figure who helps the story develop immensely, it will keep you reading at a good clip. I was very impressed with Dean Koontz‘s ability to create the bone monsters that plagued the story and were the biggest direct threat to the characters. They seem to me the most vivid entity in the whole story and he made them both a menace as much insect like as he could to keep them appearing evil at each level. Comparing it with both Forever Odd and Odd Hours I thought it was better then the latter. This book is actually the third book, between the two mentioned above, and presents itself in a fascinating way. Odd Hours, though following its own path seems to string out the supernatural much further than any of the others, almost too far. Those two were also pretty physically draining adventures; running, shooting, being tied up, crawling and climbing. This one is set in a monastery during a huge snow storm, making the story much more cerebral than steroidal. Hopefully I can get my hands on more of Koontz other works, those not in the Odd Thomas grouping, so I have something to compare them with. Two things I have noticed so far in his books, threads if you will. The first is a love of dogs. His picture on the back of this copy shows he and his dog, there is a ghost dog named Boo and bogs are mentioned in very caring ways in his books. The second is a sense that the world is getting worse, that people are chaotic and depraved. Society has something very wrong with it which is not getting better. Children get abused, families get murdered, hate and corruption are rampant. I would like to say Koontz believes in God, because he seems to distinguish between right and wrong in a very clear and even spiritual way-even when talking about death. This might be his enduring quality and his stories end on a good note, even when cliff hanged into a transition to the next story.

It’s important for those who write to read and to read fresh things to help them write even better. Koontz delivers a roller coaster ride that can inspire both readers and writers. No matter how Odd you may be.

I ended up reading three of these books and thought this was probably the best of them. I posted this previously a few years ago.

Bob Dylan: Chronicles Volume One

While you read through a book like this there is a moment when you know, intuitively, that an artist is speaking from the page. Bob Dylan tells the story of his life in a herky jerky sort of way, criss-crossing the landscape of his life through a mix of associations and time lines. From Minnesota to New York, from New Orleans to touring on the road he tells of the impact of fame, the problems of perception and the bureaucracy of the music industry. I was especially interested in the way he wrote about other artists, how they impacted him through their recordings. The scarcity of some folk records at the time was very prominent and when he sat down and listened to something new it set off a chain reaction of feelings for him. The most prominent of these artists was Woody Guthrie. Without Guthrie there would be no Bob Dylan, he makes it seem that is the truth of his impact. Robert Johnson later did it again, but not like the scope of Woody Guthrie’s music and autobiography. Dylan, like many famous people, seems to be very shy and internal. He doesn’t like other people putting words in his mouth, especially when they say he is the voice for something. Ultimately he is a family man who loves his kids and wife. He almost makes it seem as if many of the things in his life were accidental. They just happened, then other people interpreted what he did completely without merit or asking the singer himself. He is an interesting person who feels there is a complex and difficult world swirling around us at all times, but I am not trying to read too far into what he says. After all, he might not agree with my interpretation. Still his writing style and detailed memory make this volume one a good read. I give it a marking of GOOD.

 

This was posted a couple of years ago, but the honoring of Dylan with a Nobel prize a couple of weeks ago made me think about this review. I still can’t get into his music, but understand his lyrical talent.