Resolution Progress 2015: Third Quarter

OK, the year is about three quarters done, so here is where I am with each resolution.

  1. Read 52 books. Three-quarters of 52 is 39. I am close to done at 49. My Goodreads user challenge. With 5 in progress now, and 3 more than half read, this should be complete soon.
    • Read at least 50% by female authors. Of the 49 books read so far, 37 are by female authors, so I am on well above with 75%. (I’m unlikely to fall beneath 50% by even reading all male author books through the end of the year.)
  2. Weightlifting:
    1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). My best during the past month or so is 171 1RM. That is 64 up from the 107 1RM back at the start of the year. And 20 up from three months ago. Just 14 more to go by the end of the year, I think I can do it.
    2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). Completed at the half.
    3. Deadlift 300 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 278 1RM. Looks like since July the gain has been about 62 pounds. This looks manageable as I just need another third of that progress to hit the goal.
    4. Drop to about 15% body fat. No progress.
    5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. No progress.
  3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. Completed first quarter.
  4. Declutter Part II. No progress.

Resolution Progress 2015: First Half

Here is where I am about halfway through the year.

  1. Read 52 books. A half of 52 is 26. I am a few books ahead at 34. My Goodreads user challenge.
    • Read at least 50% by female authors. Of the 34 books read so far, 28 are by female authors, so I am on well above with 82%.
  2. Weightlifting:
    1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). My best during the past month or so is 157.5 1RM. That is 50.5 up from the 107 1RM back at the start of the year. Just 27.5 more to go. I was recently happy to manage two 45 lb plates on the bar 5x5s. Guess I get to be a big boy now.
    2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 262.5 1RM. That is 155.5 up from the 107 1RM back at the start of the year. That completes the goal. Guess I will reset for another 105 pounds for 350.
    3. Deadlift 300 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 273.33 1RM. That is 121.67 up from the 151.66 1RM last quarter. Just 26.67 more to go.
    4. Drop to about 15% body fat. No progress.
    5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. No progress.
  3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. Completed first quarter.
  4. Declutter Part II. No progress.

 

Well Read? Seven Years Later

My reading list So at five years later, I happened to run across a photo and blogged about the progress I had made by that point (47). I decided to go through the photo and mark all the books onto a Goodreads shelf “z-photo-reading-shelf” to better track this.

Of the 77 books, it looks like 62 are marked read. Here are the ones both in the photo and still need to be read. (I really like Goodreads’ multiple shelves function.)

None of these are by female authors, so I’ll have to pass up cranking through the remainders for another time. Maybe.

P.S. I count ten read since March 2013, so I probably had actually read about 57 and just did not count very well.

Resolution Progress 2015: First Quarter

I figured I would get back to doing quarterly reviews of progress on the resolutions for the year.

  1. Read 52 books. A quarter of 52 is 13 (the same as a suit in a deck of card). I am a few books ahead at 16. My Goodreads user challenge.
    • Read at least 50% by female authors. So far only 3 are by male authors, so I am on track with 81%.
  2. Weightlifting:
    1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). My best during the past month or so is 145 1RM. That is 42 up from the 1RM back at the start of the year. Just 40 more to go.
    2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 169 1RM. That is 62 up from the 1RM back at the start of the year. Just 76 more to go.
    3. Deadlift 300 pounds (1RM eq). Finally recently did my first deadlift and started at two 45 plates for 5 reps, which is a 151.66 1RM. Still learning form, so the weight was very manageable.  Just 149 more to go.
    4. Drop to about 15% body fat. I did buy a set of calipers with a chart which says my suprailiac is 25.6%. Since I figured 25-30%, this is about what I expected. But I have a long way to go. Visually, I can see veins and muscle definition emerging, which is encouraging.
    5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. No progress.
  3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. I did take a 825 mile trip for Mom’s birthday over a weekend. We went to Amelia Island and Jekyll Island. That was fun.
  4. Declutter Part II. Lost some of the progress made. Some of the pants now too big for me are separated out and put away. I’ll give it some time before I donate them. Started organizing and boxing the books I’ve read.

Review: Gate of Ivrel

Gate of Ivrel
Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this to me as the basis of Stargate. The concept of using a system of gates to reach other worlds certainly resembles Stargate.

I like C.J.’s The Dreaming Tree, so this was obvious for me to try.

I kept hoping to discover Arthur and Merlin as Morgaine sounded like she would be tied to tales of them. With three more in the series there is still hope.

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Resolutions 2015

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: ‘To rise above little things’. ― John Burroughs

    1. Read 52 books. Yeah, I know. In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, I read more than this same exact amount. I like the number because it is a book a week.
      • Read 50% by female authors. After reading “Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds“, I did an analysis of my own books for the past 2012, 2013, and 2014. My best year was 17% female authors. So I’ll push for at least 50% this year. Ideally, I would do even 90% female but that might mean buying a lot more books. That best year? Most of the books by female authors came from participating in a book club with most female members.
    2. Biking was an abysmal failure last year. Weight lifting is my new health and exercise thing. Based on some stuff I’ve read, these should be reasonable achievements for someone who has reached novice level. As I understand, someone who is my height takes longer to reach them, so with three months now adding another year, I think I can reach these by the end of next year. Looking to do something like a 4 day rotation of chest, back, legs, cardio (bike).
      1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). Benchmark lift Tuesday was 80 at 10 reps which by my phone app was a 107 1RM equivalent. This puts the goal at 78 more.
      2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). Benchmark lift Saturday was 80 at 10 reps which by that calculator was 107. This puts the goal at 138 more.
      3. Deadlift xxx pounds. Do not have a benchmark lift yet. According to one resource this should be 305, but I should probably look to see what I can do before committing to something.
      4. Drop to about 15% body fat. I think I am closer to 25-30% at the moment. Setting a specific target weight seems like a bad idea because I’ll need to add several pounds of muscle in order to achieve the above, so I will likely gain weight even while dropping fat. Setting the body fat target should achieve the real purpose.
      5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. Muscle is good, but I think I have been so lazy for so long that I have major stamina issues. Bike day is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Right now, I am struggling with 30 seconds high with 120 seconds slow. This goal is to get this closer to 60 seconds high with 60 seconds slow.
    3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. Work conference does not count. It might be to visit family, but the distance ensures my home town does not count. Yes, this is the same as last year’s failed. I use up my vacation time for work and this seems like a good way to encourage that.
    4. Declutter Part II. Continue the progress made from last year. Shred and trash more unneeded paper. Get all statements to be kept in folders. One last closet is still a mess and needs to be emptied of stuff.

Old resolutions: 20142013, 2012201120102009.

Resolution Progress 2014: End

This year was a mixed bag. Sorry for the lack of updates.

    1. Read 52 books. Today, at the end of the year, I should be at 52 books read. I reached that point back on October 12th. (A few days earlier than last year.) My total for the year is 74. (142%) SUCCEEDED.
    2. Ride 10 miles a week April to October. I bought a bike and got up to 3 miles in the few weeks I was trying in March to build up for starting in April. Some unexpected complications were 1) getting sick and 2) the hills in neighborhood are beyond my capability. FAILED.
    3. Declutter. Reorganized enough to be somewhat presentable that lasted for a while. Removed about 4 trash bags of clothes from the closets for donation. Threw out about 10 trash bags of broken down boxes, shredded receipts, or junk mail. Setup laundry bag carts so no longer in piles. Setup new shelving units so stuff is not sitting in piles anymore. SUCCEEDED.
    4. Take a trip 300 miles away from home. No trips taken that qualify. The one trip to Seattle was for work. FAILED.

Somewhere around February I decided to work on financial goals. I managed to reorganize some things, fully fund a goal, and get an idea of where I want to go in the future.

Tomorrow I should post 2015’s goals.

My Top 10 Life Changing Books

I was challenged by a friend to list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not overthink it. Not necessarily classics, but ones that have affected you in some way.

There are so many other books I ought to have included on this list. Oh, well. What is done, is done.

I think for next year’s books I am going to try to read some of the books friends included on their lists. (The collection.)

Review: Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is really the story of why and how IEX was created. Humans made bad decisions. So, to protect people from other people, we moved the operation of the stock market to being run by computers. The natural consequence was for people to game the system with computer code. Rather than stay vigilant against new exploitations, we just redefined fair. The team behind IEX created it to eliminate these problems and establish a fair place for trading to occur.

About halfway through the book, I watched a commercial where an investment company touted their guaranteed one second trades. To the average person, this probably sounds amazing. The thing is that companies like this operate in milliseconds (1/1,000) and nanoseconds (1/1,000,000). Plus, they operate Dark Pools where the trade is obfuscated from independent review. Your trade could get executed where it benefits them and not you.

The overarching theme is that complexity and obfuscation created an environment where bad things can happen. As a technologist in education, I fight against this every day. We desire simplicity. Yet every change and especially those we execute without a good understanding of the business case creates complexity which will result in a failure. When no one fully understands how all the components work together, it exists to fail. Funnily enough, my team, the database administrators (really application administrators) sit at the intersection of the analysts, vendors, operating system admins, storage admins, network admins, and others. So this is familiar territory.

Zoran Perkov and Sergey Aleynikov are unsung heroes I am sure about whom I will spend more time reading.

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Resolution Progress 2013: Third Quarter

    1. Read 52 books. Today, at 3/4 through the year, I should be at 39 books read. I am at 48. (Got to 39 books on Jul 25, 2013.) Just current four I am reading will complete the goal for the year. Of course, I will keep reading because that is what I do.
    2. Post 180 blog entries. Today at 3/4 through the year, I should be at 135 blog posts published. I am at 115. I was at 44 at the halfway point, so 71 in 3 months is much better. It leaves me with 65 more to the finish the year.
    3. A dSLR photograph a week. Pretty much gave up at the first quarter.