Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Singles Only

Warm Up - 20 minute walk
One Arm KB Clean and Press - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 24k; 2/2 x 28k; 5/5 x 24k
One Arm Swings - 10/10 x 16k, 20k, 24k, 28k, 28k
Half Getup to High Bridge - 5/5 x 16k
Grippers - 5/5 x T; 3/3 x #1; 1/1 x BBSA

No double kettlebells today. My body is not ready for heavy weights in the morning yet.

Other updates:
1. A tech is coming to service the elliptical today. Once I can use it, my warm up time will be cut in half.

2. I signed up to be a victim at next Sunday's RKC. I am going get feedback on my snatch grip, as well as to see if taking the RKC is something I might ultimately want to do. I considered training up for it this year, but Dragon Door's recent marketing ventures (MLM of nutritional products / affiliation with a "lifestyle design" guru) really discouraged me from giving them more money.

3. I'm going to play in the 10-ball tournament tomorrow night.

4. The potatoes I got for $0.20 / lb are excellent. $4 a day is totally happening on my next grocery shopping cycle.

2011-2012 Goals

1. Master the 24k kettlebell

Loosely based on the strength standards for the RKC:


1.1 Double presses - 5x5

1.2 Double front squats - 5x5

1.3 Double Swings 5x10

1.4 Turkish Getup - 3x3/3

1.5 100 snatches in 5 minutes

1.6 Unweighted pullups 1x5


I am starting at 3x3 on the presses, 3x2 on the squats, 1x10 on the swings, 1x1/1 on the getups, 100 snatches in 10 minutes, and no pullups. Body weight is 215. Video of met goals will be posted.


2. Eat on $4 a day 

The $4 includes all groceries and alcohol. It excludes eating out, typically 1-2x a week. I am starting just above $4 a day. Averages will be calculated with every major grocery shop.


3. Become competitive in the local pool tournament 

The local pool hall hosts double elimination tournaments every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. I consider competitive as winning matches against at least 2 people in a night. I play once or twice a month and am starting with zero wins over 4 tournaments. I did take one match down to a final shot on the eight, where I scratched.


4. Maintain my home 

4.1 Caulk the shower

4.2 Repair the screens

4.3 Power wash and stain the deck

4.4 Fix the bedroom pocket door

4.5 Setup the fireplace

4.6 Clean the dryer vent hose

4.7 Inspect the attic


My house is gradually falling apart. I need to learn how to take care of it, hiring professional help when appropriate. Starting out, about all I can do is unclog a drain. I did replace the kitchen faucet, but it took me 4 hours.


5. Excel as a software quality engineer

5.1 Script system wide regression tests

5.2 Automate system wide regression tests

5.3 Introduce targeted security vulnerability assessments

5.4 Accelerate existing automated vulnerability scans

5.5 Evaluate automated vulnerability scanner website integration

5.6 Support at least one additional developer

5.7 Adopt use of join syntax in SQL queries

5.8 Introduce regular monitoring of unhandled system exceptions


Project manager at a small company is an encompassing title. While I do run projects and design the majority of our system changes, I am also responsible for quality. My boss values improvements here the most, so I will focus on them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Early Start

Warm Up - 20 minute walk
Wide Grip Deadlifts - 5 x 20k, 60k, 80k, 80k, 80k
Goblet Squats - 5 x BW, 12k, 24k
Kettlebell Squat - 3 x 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Lunges - 5x BW, 12k racked, 12k overhead + kneeling press
Dynamic Pinch - 5 x 8.5, 8.5, 9

My goal year doesn't technically start until 9/1, but I need to get back into morning workouts if everything I have planned is going to get done.

Right now, I am weak and tight early in the day. That will change with a couple weeks of morning sessions.

The ellipitcal is finally here, but broken. The delivery guys had to take it apart to get it in the basement. It only worked long enough to get my sign off. I've got a call in for a tech. The decision to pay for delivery and a two year warranty is proving smart...

So What Happened??? - Part 2 of 2

On the verge of burn out, eyes newly opened to economic reality, I received a welcome email from an old coworker. "We're hiring, it's work from home, and you know the team..."


I reviewed the company against my new standards:


1. High value sector? Yep.

2. Niche focus? Check.

3. Intrinsic competitive advantage? Definitely.


September of 2010, I started a new job - 40 hours a week, working from home.


Between a return to normal working hours and elimination of my commute, I found myself with an extra 15-20 hours a week. After a few months of decompression, I was able to use this extra time for all sorts of fun stuff. A few of the highlights:


1. A week visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

2. 6 weeks attending a 6am kettlebell boot camp class

3. Cutting my grocery bills from $100+ a week $150 a month

4. Completely automating my personal finances

5. Hosting a friend from out of the country

6. Finally attending my wife's family functions

7. Helping my wife to foster the biggest group of cats yet - 7 kittens!

8. Rediscovering my interests in video games, lifting and shooting pool


Amusingly, the net effect on my career has been improved professional growth. While I do not spend as many hours working, the time is more creative and the tasks are extremely well aligned with my strengths. Over the course of a year, I've learned quite a few new tricks and helped deliver some sweet projects.


Most importantly, my work and home lives are finally well integrated. With that foundation, I have regained the enthusiasm to set and pursue long term goals. It's going to be a fun year!

Monday, August 29, 2011

So What Happened??? - Part 1 of 2

October of 2009, I shifted focus almost entirely to my career. The economy had tanked, my clients were unhappy with their project returns, and I resolved to change it through sheer force of will. I ramped up to 55+ hour work weeks, skipped lunches, worked weekends, and spent most of my waking hours trying to solve the problem.


My efforts were a runaway success and I was rewarded handsomely. At least, that's what I wish I could say. The reality is, I learned an important lesson about fighting economic tides. By July of 2010, my best efforts had merely helped us tread water, and I was burning out.


Meanwhile, my wife had made the switch from consulting to a corporation. I watched jealously as she matched my hours Monday through Thursday, then had Fridays off. I shook my head in disbelief at massive IT project budgets. I listened in amazement to stories of corporate networking events and bonuses for personal development.


The differences made my mind race. There I was working furiously with exceptionally smart people (the hiring interview literally included an IQ test), yet we struggled. Her company was too big to keep our exacting standards, yet they flourished. Along came the answer in a book:

The Little Book That Builds Wealth

Her company had an intrinsic competitive advantage and held a specialized niche in a high value sector. My company, well, our people were really smart...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Return to Goals

By the end of August, 2012 I will:


1. Master the 24k kettlebell

2. Eat on $4 a day

3. Become competitive in the local pool tournament

4. Maintain my home

5. Excel as a software quality engineer


After a 2 year hiatus, goal driven personal development has resumed.