Finally, a Translator!

Okay, maybe not so much a translator as a glossary. As I mentioned a few days (weeks? months?) ago, my brain has gotten more rigorous at coming up with new words for words I’m trying to access. The most recent was the name of the medical device that doctors install to regulate a patient’s heartbeat. You know – the tachometer.

I recently got my first Apple Watch in an attempt to offload some brain functions that might occasionally be… lacking. Most specifically note taking and an abundance of reminders. After years of fighting against it, I’ve now given in to having short conversations with Siri. Anyway, I got myself an Ultra (this is back in the Series 8 days, future travelers) due to its durability and gigantic size. The durability’s an obvious plus, since I have a tendency to not pay attention to how my arms are flapping about. The gigantic size is great to make it easier to use with my sausage fingers and to make the watch look more of a normal size with my big paws. The only issue is the included band (the velcro trail whatever band) doesn’t open enough to let the aforementioned big paw slip easily through.

So off to reddit I go to wander r/applewatch for a few hours. In addition to some watch band ideas, I walked away filled with amazement at how much people expect from a watch. One in particular was upset at how the watch was reading his HRV (Heart Rate Variability, something to do with your heart rate fluctuating and a low number is worse than a high number). It had been reading in low numbers (again, bad), but when he checked the HRV being given by the pacemaker installed in his body, his HRV was really a higher healthy number. That’s right, he’s comparing heart readings from a watch on his wrist to heart readings from a device inside his heart.

I had been discussing my new watch with the IT consultant/former boss who had come onsite that day, so I tracked him down to tell this tale. It was going well until I got to the word “pacemaker.” The best I could come up with was “tachometer.” He didn’t pick up on it because he was probably only halfway paying attention to me, but I pondered the proper terminology over the next couple of hours while I did other things. I couldn’t come up with anything better than “tachometer.”

I wasn’t too worried about it since I was doing other things, but did start panic breathing a little as I neared the end of the second hour. So I stopped everything and laser-focused on the problem at hand. Yes, I was sitting in front of a computer that would tell me the answer in seconds, but I was On A Mission. So I sat there staring at my desk for FIVE MINUTES before I finally thought of “pacemaker.” Interestingly, the recovered word was brittle for a little while. I’d think about how I would recount the ordeal to my wife and I’d remember the word started with a P, then have to gather myself to come up with the rest of the word.

While it has been suggested that I might have had “tachycardia” lodged in my brain, I’m pretty sure it was an even simpler comparison. Tachometers measure rpm, so why not bpm?

All of this to say that I now have a way on the site for us (the royal us) to keep track of these new words as well as any other things I come up with. Take a look at The New Moondoggie Dictionary, readily available in the header of the site. If I find a way to link to a specific word, I might use that in the future. I just spent two hours trying to put a copyright notice in my footer without destroying the site, so I’ve had it for programming today.

Update: I’m Awesome

Whaddaya know – it IS like CrossFit! I was worried about nothing. Two puzzles down (I scaled down to the easy ones), the first in 14 minutes, then the second a new 10 minute PR. I am SO gonna tackle double-unders tomorrow morning.

The Power of Negative Thinking

I was putting together a big long post on the mental game in Crossfit and it really started rambling there after a bit. And if I think it was rambling, it would probably be incomprehensible to you guys. So instead, let’s focus right now on negative affirmations.

The important thing to remember at all times is the power your brain has over your body. I’d imagine it varies from person to person, but I know my brain can really mess me up physically. And not just by all of those “A Five Guys burger would be soooooo good right now” thoughts it keeps repeating. For instance, several times in the past when I’ve decided I really need to play hooky from work, I’d get myself sick. When you call your boss, you have to be sure you sound good and sick. I’d get so deep in the act, before I’d realize it I’d be really sick. And as we all know, nothing’s worse than being sick on a sick day.

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.
– Emo Phillips

Knowing this power my brain has beforehand has already proved astoundingly useful in my life. I’ve never been that good at all of that positive affirmation Stuart Smalley stuff. The closest I can get is by limiting my negative affirmations, which can be quite a task in itself. I even have a good concrete example right here of how this all works for me.

NOTE: If you’re one of my cancer homies, you can zone out ’cause I’m going to tell that story again.

So yeah, Crossfitters – I’m a cancer survivor. Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage IVB – about as advanced as that cancer can get at diagnosis time. Once I was diagnosed, I had one primary rule that I stuck to: I didn’t want to know any side effects of anything that was being given to me. Luckily, I had my wife Barb right there (wave to the crowd, honey), so she became the Holder of the Side Effects. You see, as much as you might want to, you can’t completely ignore your symptoms when you’re in chemo. You may think that your fever’s no big deal, but that might just be a precursor to something really bad happening from drug X.

So the way it worked was like this. We go in to see the doctor and he goes into what I’m going to get and what’s going to happen. The second half is where I tune out (let’s hear it for ADD!). He hands me the sheet with all of the side effects (“The ones in this column are normal. The ones in this column you call me about. The ones in this column, you race to the ER.”) and I hand it right to Barb. She kept them all in her notebook and when I felt something weird, I’d ask her about it.

“Honey? I feel kinda queasy and I can’t see the color orange anymore.” Barb would pull out her notebook, run through the lists. “Nope, those are normal.” “Okay, hand me that baseball.” “Those are oranges, honey.”

Not only did I have very few side effects and hardly any of the “bad” ones, I started playing roller hockey in the middle of the first chemo regimen while I was still working full time. That’s not to say that that first hockey game wasn’t worse than any WOD I’ve done so far, but it got easier. I only quit once they started talking stem cell transplant.

Granted, later on, even not knowing the side effects was enough to keep things from happening. Some of those chemo regimens can be quite draconian. But still, I didn’t seem to have as many problems as the rest of my cancer buddies did.

So what you can glean from that rambling is this. Did I ever say anything about thinking positively? About telling yourself you can do it? About how having hope in your head and a song in a heart will get you through anything. No, I didn’t. At least I don’t think I did. Who can remember? The key to this is, you don’t have to think positive. Just don’t think negative.

“Ugh. Fran is today.”

“I’m still sore from the last one.”

“Has it been twenty minutes yet?”

“Wait, we’re supposed to do how many reps?”

They don’t seem that negative on the surface, but this kind of thinking just eats away at your brain. As soon as you feel one of these thoughts bubble up, do whatever it takes to stuff it back down. Find something sparkly to look at. Ask yourself what you really expected to happen when you showed up at the box that morning. Or, if you’re really feeling like a mental badass, take a tip from the second fittest woman in the world, Annie Thorisdottir. She looked like a mental case about half the time, because here she is, pushing a wheelbarrow overflowing with sandbags, and she’s frickin’ smiling.

Kettlebells? Smiling. Double unders? Smiling. Handstand push ups? Frowning. Oh wait – she’s upside down. Smiling.

Why the hell is she smiling? Did she not read her Icelandic to American Pain Dictionary to understand that you’re not supposed to do that sort of thing. Maybe. According to her, it’s kind of like how you’re supposed to smile when you talk on the phone if you’re in customer service. Try it right now. Smile. Aside from feeling stupid, smiling at your computer for no reason (and looking a little goofy, I might add), did you feel how smiling changes your whole posture? It may be subtle – try it again. This time, with a flower pot on your head.

Sorry – after getting everyone to smile the first time I was a little overcome with my power. But can you feel what I mean? It’s just that little extra bit of oomph that could mean the difference between a clean box jump and a no rep. Or horribly scraped shins, a busted nose and a thrown out back if you exceedingly clumsy.

So that’s your assignment for tomorrow’s WOD. Do whatever it takes to quell the negative thoughts and try to smile during the WOD. Or, you can kill two birds with one stone – smile during the WOD and think about what the people around you are thinking when they see you smiling, you psycho.

The First Rule of Crossfit: Don’t Compare It to Fight Club

Many people who get involved with Crossfit equate it on some level with Fight Club. It’s hard to blame them when you see the places they overlap. You’ve got a group of people meeting in out-of-the-way places, punishing their bodies over and over, rebuilding their bodies, their minds and their entire outlook on life. Not to mention the fact that the first few workouts, you’re going to feel like you were on the losing end of a lopsided fight.
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I’m not doing it anymore

That is, not doing the thing I was referencing in the last post, FIVE MONTHS AGO. Almost SIX. Oy vey.

The good news (sorta) is, I’m putting together a daily schedule for myself to try to get my life in order and under control and being electronically social is one of the things that’s going to have its own daily block of time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start answering emails now!

I’m Doing It Again.

Now granted, I’ve had a hectic almost-two-weeks since getting back from the Georgian Business Trip and I’m currently sicker than a dog (since Phoebe is healthy, other than moping around because Mom & Dad are sick). However, I’m falling into the same old pattern. “I can’t do a post about this thing ’cause I haven’t done a post about that thing yet. And I haven’t gotten the site all together yet. And I haven’t beefed up the ukulele section yet. Or even TOLD people I’m playing it yet! OMG! OMG! OMG! Peeeeeeeee.”

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Oh, by the way – I’m a whore.

If you happened to hover over or, God forbid, click on either the Matt Costa or TuneTech Tuner links in the previous posts, you will have noticed they take you over to Amazon. Selling out’s in the air this morning, and I figured, what the hell – it’s affiliate link time! I still stand by my stance that this sort of thing won’t creep over into CiMB (once I get it restarted), but while you’re in my brain, feel free to toss me a couple of coins. If you want. I might put one of those “Gimme Gimme Gimme Something From My Wish List” boxes too. And maybe a couple of “You know what, just send me money” links.

Or maybe I’ll feel dirty and take it all down.