Friday, March 30, 2012

Squee! My Little Pony blanks!

It's hard to say who loves My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic more, my 12 and 10 year old girls or their 3 year old brother. But we're all going crazy over Hasbro selling Decorate Your Own Pony blanks.

Genius marketing move, that.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Health Update Part 2 -- The Jock Stuff

The first time I tried an individualized morning exercise program was in college 25 years ago. In order to help me get up and get to the gym, I turned on Mississippi Public Radio and promptly discovered Morning Edition. That scuttled the exercising, but I've been a fan of the show ever since. These days I keep the radio and the exercise equipment in the same room. It works a lot better that way. :)

Anytime you're doing a solo fitness routine the first question is, "How do you measure your progress?" I'm fit enough that I can't tell any immediate benefit from exercising. My body type doesn't lose weight easily, if at all. There's no spasms from muscles that have never been asked to do "that" before which clear up in a few weeks.

I'm not yet lifting heavy enough weights to feel it the next day. I buy another set when I can, but that's usually monthly. So far the best indicator I have that I'm actually making progress is that I can do certain exercises, like pushups, and certain dance moves, like "walks" and "layers", for twice as long without straining as I could six months ago.

As far as the cardio goes, I doubt my ability to reliably self-monitor. This month's fitness purchase is a heart rate monitor watch which should arrive tomorrow. I needed a new watch anyway.

Following the recommendation in Coopersmith's book, I've folded the yoga into the daily warm-ups and cool downs to make more room for cardio and strength training. This means longer sessions. Unfortunately the day isn't getting longer to compensate. I'm just doing the most basic yoga poses. I might well be ready to try some more advanced ones, but I'd like to have a trained spotter around the first few times. Living in the middle of nowhere stinks sometimes.

Brighteyes (12) loves getting me up in the mornings to exercise, which helps keep me motivated. She prefers jumping rope to dance. Sunshine (11) prefers to sleep in.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Health Update Part 1 -- The Geek Stuff

The good news is that my knee joint is fine. It's the ligaments that are damaged, apparently from picking up a screaming toddler and carrying him away from something he shouldn't have been on. Since the ligaments heal slowly, I simply have to avoid picking up toddlers or walking up long staircases for about six months and I'll be fine.

Right. Like I can avoid picking up Owl for as long as sixty minutes. I heard James Levine speak about the importance of non-exercise activities the other day. If he's right I already have the greatest exercise machine known to man -- a three year old. I don't know if I've lost any weight pulling him out of trouble, but I can do a full pushup for the first time in my life.

And about that weight, apparently I've lost quite a bit of it in the past six months. I've always refused to own a weight scale on principal. (I'll break that principal for the Wii only for the exercise games.) However, the scales I have been on show that I'm within 10-20 pounds of where I was a few years ago when I exercised every day. Back when I exercised every day for two years I lost two inches off my hips but I didn't lose an ounce of my weight -- the fat converted to muscle which weighs more. So, you know what I'm going to call that weight my baseline weight and not worry about dropping below it, and I don't care if BMI calls it "obese" because they're too inaccurate to be trusted. I'm just going to be concerned about getting back to it.

I'm continuing with my fitness program, although not today. A long staircase sidelined me and gave me the time to write this post. Being a geek I'll start a post about jock things by talking about -- books.

BTW, is it just me or are books written by fitness experts terribly flighty? The ones I've read tend to be poorly organized, and not just because they're "how-to" books. I own over a thousand "how-to" books and none of them are as bad as the average fitness book. I have to sit down with a notebook and annotate them so I can find the information I need, just like I was taking a class.

Let's start with my baseline book, Geralyn Coopersmith's Fit and Female: The Perfect Fitness and Nutrition Game Plan for Your Unique Body Type. It's a good starter book with plenty of entry-level information, well collated if not well organized. As is common with fitness books for women, it begins in a "confessional" style designed to do three things:

1) convince the reader that the writer is a "real girl",

2) convince the reader it's not her fault, it's society's fault for having unrealistic expectations of women, and

3) convince the reader that her genes will set hard limits on the amount of weight she can lose safely.

It's 2012, are there still women who don't know these things? Don't answer that.

I must give the writer credit for acknowledging that different women's bodies have different needs, and for devising different diet and exercise plans for those different women. Her plan for my body type (endo-pear) appears good so far, although her weight training exercises are pretty wimpy. She's got some youtube videos (apparently an exercise DVD is coming) but I haven't watched them all yet.

Fortunately for the strength training I've got Karen Andes trilogy, A Woman's Book of Strength, A Woman's Book of Power, and A Woman's Book of Balance. Andes has written 5 very good books and made two dozen exercise DVDs, the ones that I've seen have been good quality with an emphasis on fun and many have won awards. It's a pity Andes has no respect for her own work or for her fans. Once she finishes something, she shrugs, says "I'm done with that", and moves on. There's no compilation of her work and no consideration for a young woman who might need the information she's "done with" and "moved on" from, she makes no effort to keep anything in print, won't even keep a list of her prior works on a website so we can look for them, and on top of all that changed her professional name after 20 years in business to "Aruna"(!)


I love the writer's work, but there's simply no excuse for that level of managerial sloppiness. The underlying assumption I'm getting is that she assumes no one respects her enough to want to follow her career, and that she has a similar lack of respect for her audience. The former is not true. I don't know about the latter.

Meta-rants aside, she's got some very good and very fun strength training exercises, which I have to annotate before I can thoroughly use so I'm not having to stop in mid-session to look up something that might be in one of three books.

But this is fitness, you don't want to know what I'm reading but what I'm doing. That will be in the next part.

The War on Women Comes to DC Comics

For those of you living under a rock or working for DC Comics, Wonder Woman is a superhero invented by a psychologist to help women and girls feel good about being women and girls. That is her prime directive.

Anything that makes women and girls not feel good about being women and girls does not belong in a Wonder Woman comic. Simple, no?

Even with literally dozens of misogyny articles appearing every day, this crap came the closest to making me want to throw up.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Bright Spot Amidst All the Madness

For those of you playing offshore, here's Rachel Maddow with a concise (if incomplete) synopsis. She's missing that Kansas is about to pass a law that will cause it to lose it's ability to train acredited OB/GYNs or that Colorodo is trying to pass the "personhood amendment" a third time against the vigorous opposition of the voters who have slammed it down twice in increasingly resounding defeats.

I read a quote from a statistician on one of the major news outlets saying that the number of young women voting in the Republican primaries was "statistically negligible". That's what, less than 2%? No young women, no future. Which leads to this lovely PSA from

I wonder if the Ad Council will do a radio version to play on Rush's show, since free PSAs are the only things you hear between his rants these days.

There is a bright side. The backlash against this could be so fierce that it could sweep enough feminist politicians into office that we could finally pass and ratify a new ERA.

It's a personal fantasy of mine.

ETA: Just after I posted this entry, a piece came up where Romney tells a woman who wants mammograms and HPV vaccines (so she doesn't, y'know, die a painful lingering death from cancer) to "vote for the other guy".

If I tried to make this up, y'all wouldn't believe it. Does he think women don't count? Does he think we have no menfolk who love us and will vote with us? Does he even think at all?

Somewhere Obama's ad agents are scampering with joy.


I'm sorry I haven't had time to post anything longer or more personal lately. Right now with the 3yo, homeschooling the girls, and spring gardening/cleaning I can barely find time to sit down. I've got one chunk of free time when my brain is halfway active. I can either blog or exercise. I'm trying to exercise. Hopefully the time crunch will clear up and I can blog more.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

World Ending Sign #2: Republican Congressman Proposes Taxing the Rich

(I normally don't run this much political commentary even during a Presidential election, but this year is off the scale.)

Freshman Republican Rep. Rick Crawford will propose a surtax on millionaires Thursday morning, a crack in the steadfast GOP opposition to extracting more money from the nation’s top earners.

Crawford will propose the additional tax— expected to be north of 2.5 percent — on individual income over $1 million as part of a broader fiscal responsibility package.

“He’s watched the Gangs of Six and 100 and deficit commissions, as well as leadership’s budget and tax plan, and he feels there will never be a deal that will pass the Senate without a revenue component,” a Crawford aide said, describing the legislation without attribution because it has not yet been officially announced.


According to a source close to the Arkansan, the lawmaker “feels that if were going to make any progress in addressing the deficit and the debt eventually, then we need to find compromise.”

What's next, a Republican Gay Pride Parade?

ETA DH's comment: "What did you expect? An Arkansan knows you can't bring home the pork without slaughtering some pigs."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The World Is Ending: Ann Coulter Compliments Democrats

There's been a lot of signs lately that it's the End Times for the political world as we know it with Santorum, birth control, Rush et al; but none surer than this one: Republican hate-monger extraordinaire Ann Coulter said the Democrats are better than the Republicans at something important -- keeping con artists and charlatans from stealing the limelight.

At a Lincoln Day Dinner event in Florida, she was asked about the possibility of a brokered Republican convention.

“One of the ones promoting that is Sarah Palin, who has suggested herself as the choice,” Coulter replied. “I think as long as it’s between us girls, I’ve been observing something about her. I don’t think it’s likely to happen. I don’t know what these people are cheering for.”


“And just a more corporate problem is I think our party and particularly our movement, the conservative movement, does have more of a problem with con men and charlatans than the Democratic Party,” Coulter continued. “I mean, the incentives seem to be set up to allow people, as long as you have a band of a few million fanatical followers, you can make money. The Democrats have managed to figure out how not to do that.”

“Dennis Kucinich, he’s a nut, he has fanatical followers, [but] he doesn’t gets a show on MSNBC. He doesn’t get any kind of gig on MSNBC. He’s road kill. Howard Dean doesn’t get a show. Howard Dean was fairly respectable for a Democrat. No, you embarrass us and drag this thing out, and you are finished in the Democratic Party.”

She noted that Republicans had been asked to sign a number of controversial pledges, such as Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge and The Family Leader’s marriage pledge. But the only pledge, Coulter joked, that she would support was one that said: “If I lose the nomination, I pledge I will not take a gig with Fox News or write a book.”

Looks like a death match is brewing between the Randian Republicans and the Fundy Republicans. Coulter has picked her side.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Don't Step On My Jaw

After all I've been through it takes a lot to gobsmack me, but good old Sara pulled it off:

Palin: Obama Seems To Want To Return To The "Days Before The Civil War" When People Were Not Considered Equal

So, Barak Obama wants to return to the days when he, his wife, and his daughters would have been slaves? Facing legally mandated rape and torture with no recourse every day? Is that what she's saying?

You figure it out:

I know the Paul Revere remark should have been fair warning, but....