July 11, 2009

Showing Appreciation

I'd like to take a moment to show my appreciation for a few people.

Nancy Campbell. She retired as Principal from Howe Sound Secondary in Squamish, British Columbia this year. I know that it is rare for teenagers to appreciate high school principals, but I can say with a bit of experience that she was a great principal) I've had. She was always available for any questions and to support me as a new student in Grade 11. She wrote a letter of recommendation that in part convinced the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to accept me into their rigorous Youth Academy (about which I will write about shortly), and selected me to serve on the Civic Student Council, both of which I enjoyed thoroughly and helped to motivate me to become more physically fit and politically educated. Thank you.

I would also like to note the retirement of my college counselor Sandy Cottrell and US History Teacher Chuck Beach of Libertyville High School. Ms. Cottrell had the patience to help me apply to over a dozen colleges and universities in the US and Canada and the kindness to not get upset when I chose Mount Allison University...which bases admission decisions almost entirely on grades, and not the A.C.T. which she helped me register for or the essays which she helped me organize and send to other schools. Thanks in part to her I did not receive a single rejection and was able to chose from a variety of quality institutions.

I don't think I skipped a single day of Chuck Beach's US History Honours class, and when I was gone for valid reasons he noticed and harassed me about it. His wit and insight into some of the finer points of US History made his one of the most interesting history classes I've taken. It was great to see a friendly face, even if it soon turned into a scowl at me being late to class. Even at 7:30 A.M. (yes, 7:30 A.M.) on Monday mornings Mr. Beach somehow managed a smile that helped me though many a long day.

Thank you. I wish all three of you happiness in your well-earned retirement.

I would also like to commemorate the life of Eric Frank Landeros 4/27/89-2/10/08, and old friend who died far too young yet he managed to bring happiness to those around him.

July 9, 2009

Why Nobody Likes Wyoming

So I think I figured out why nobody from Wyoming visits this blog...it's either because they're too busy shooting each other and fighting for the right to bring wolves to the brink of extinction...again. I guess almost making the Buffalo extinct and then putting it on the state flag wasn't enough. What is that about...look what we did...we didn't completely wipe out an entire species...let's put it on our state flag to show everybody how great we are.
"He argues the state is entitled to manage wolves and would ensure their conservation." Yeah...you'll "manage" them. "If we don't kill them...they'll die."


States ready for first open wolf hunts
By MATTHEW BROWN – 24 minutes ago

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana and Idaho are moving to host the first open gray wolf hunts in the lower 48 states after the animal's removal from the endangered list across much of the Northern Rockies.

Montana wildlife commissioners voted Wednesday to let hunters throughout the state shoot 75 wolves, or 15 percent of Montana's population, beginning in mid-September

In Idaho, commissioners meet later this month to set their quota. A prior plan called for hunting almost 250 wolves.

Legal challenges to the hunts are certain as environmentalists argue wolves could again be driven toward extinction.

Experts, however, said wiping out wolves would be difficult. And state wildlife managers said the quotas are crucial to keep the fast-breeding predators in check and limit attacks on domestic sheep and calves.

"We're signaling our commitment to being responsible wildlife managers," said Montana's lead wolf biologist, Carolyn Sime.

Without hunting or another means to manage wolves, she added, "you either eliminate all the wolves or you eliminate all the livestock."

Gray wolves once ranged from Alaska to Mexico. Hunting, trapping and government-sponsored poisoning wiped out the species across most of the lower 48 states by the 1930s.

Listed as endangered in 1974, wolves did not return to America's Northern Rockies in significant numbers until the mid-1990s, when 66 Canadian wolves were relocated to Idaho and Wyoming.

Last year, when the region's wolves were briefly pulled from the endangered species list, Wyoming let its residents kill a small number in a designated predator zone before the animals were reinstated to the list.

There are now an estimated 1,350 of the predators in Montana and Idaho. Three-hundred wolves in Wyoming remain under federal protection because of a state law there considered hostile to wolves.

Wyoming Attorney General Bruce Salzburg has challenged that status in federal court in Cheyenne. He argues the state is entitled to manage wolves and would ensure their conservation.

In Montana and Idaho, the removal of wolves from the endangered list in May resulted in two lawsuits by environmental and animal rights groups. The consolidated cases are pending before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula.

Doug Honnold, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental law firm handling the legal action, said he was waiting to learn what Idaho's quota will be before deciding on the next legal step.

"We don't think hunts should be allowed until there's legitimate recovery," he said.
Alaska has an estimated 10,000 wolves, the most in the country. The gray wolf has never been listed as endangered in that state and about 1,100 are trapped or hunted annually.
Alaska state officials say the predator's population remains healthy, despite criticisms over how wolves are killed in the state, including aerial gunning.

A study completed last year on wolves across North America showed up to 30 percent of a region's wolf population can die from human causes, including hunting, with no decrease in overall population growth.

"It's hard for people to grasp that you could go out there and shoot 30 percent of the wolves and still have a growing population," said lead author Layne Adams, a wolf researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey. "People don't tend to recognize how prolific wolves are."

Sime, Montana's lead wolf biologist, said deer and elk hunters who shoot a wolf opportunistically are expected to account for the bulk of this year's harvest in the state.

Wildlife officials hope to refine the state's hunting season in coming years to target those wolves most likely to kill livestock, she said.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

July 8, 2009

4:05:06 P.M. 7/8/09

I just thought I'd take a second to appreciate this moment.

Berklee College of Music Student Activities Blog


As our office (The Student Activities Center at Berklee College of Music) is preparing for the arrival of the 5-Week Summer Performance Program students to arrive we have launched a Berklee College of Music Student Activities blog.  I will be updating the blog regularly, spotlighting the various events and activities on campus and around the Boston area.

There may be a Berklee related posts that may be of interest to some of you and in that case I will quote it. For now go check it out.

July 7, 2009

Student Bloggers

I was distracted from mentioning this earlier, but Student Bloggers again referenced a blog post I wrote. Here's a snippet:

American Independence Day is coming up soon, but we gotta give it up to our neighbors to the north on this July 1st, Canada Day. [Geoff at Mount Allison]gives us some video reflection on the US-Canadian relationship on this day and [GR-E.G] may be American, but is sending her love as well.

July 6, 2009

Lazy Eye- Silversun Pickups

Another song...I could be sharing one of the thousands of songs I was given to listen to this summer...but this one I found by chance (humm...what doesn't happen except by chance?) really stands out. Lyrics included below for your convenience. Enjoy.

Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye




I've been waiting
I've been waiting for this moment all my life
But it's not quite right

And this 'real'
It's impossible if possible
At who's blind word
So clear but so unheard

I've been waiting
I've been waiting for this silence all night long
It's just a matter of time

To appear sad
With the same 'ol decent lazy eye
Fixed to rest on you
Aim free and so untrue

Everyone's so intimately rearranged
Everyone's so focused clearly with such shine

Everyone's so intimately rearranged
Everyone's so focused clearly with such shine

Locked and loaded
Still the same 'ol decent lazy eye
Straight through your gaze
That's why I said I relate
I said we relate
It's so fun to relate

It's the room, the sun, and the sky
The room, the sun, and the sky

I've been waiting
I've been waiting for this moment...

authentik artists

Edit: Apparently people still use myspace and this video is available there as well.

Apparently more than me, myself and I look at this blog. My video of Pete Kilpatrick Band at Old Port Festival was apparently good enough to be highlighted by authentik artists, Pete Kilpatrick Band's record label and posted about on their facebook fan page. Interesting how that worked out, eh?

Video of Pete Kilpatrick Band at Old Port Festival posted
July 6, 2009 by Bob
Video of Pete Kilpatrick Band’s recent performance at Portland, Maine’s 36th Annual Old Port Festival has been posted. View photos and a short clip of the band’s performance here.

Ten Weeks to Fitness: Bench Press, Pullup, Squat, and Lunge

This summer I've been working on losing all the weight I gain at Mount Allison my first year and getting back in shape. I've been eating right and exercising at home since the beginning of the summer but it wasn't enough. With plenty of encouragement from a friend (something along the lines of "Don't be lazy, join a gym") I decided to start really working out. I first went to the gym on June 24th to get used to the equipment but didn't really start working out seriously until the following week...but just for the sake of having a nice round number let's start from June 25th (the first picture day) and count ten weeks until September 3rd (two days before I leave). Assuming I look presentable by the end of this I may be posting the changes of the next nine weeks in September.

I was given pretty good advice on what I should do in order, but needed a bit more guidance on how to do things safely...and then I found Vic Magary's GymJunkies.com. I don't normally endorse anything on here...but gymjukies had exactly what I needed. How to do simple strength training exercises safely and effectively. I've decided on focusing on the Bench Press, Pullup, Squat, and Lunge and they were clearly explained, photographed, and recorded for display on gymjunkies.com:


Bench Press:



Proper Bench Press Form

To perform the Bench Press...
  • Lay on the bench and make sure the bar is at proper height. A bar that is too high above the bench will make it hard to rack which is very unsafe and could lead to serious injury.
  • Put your back on the bench and feet on the ground. Start with your arms about 25 inches apart or so. The hand placement will vary, just find something that is comfortable. Make sure to grip the bar with your thumb around the bar. Don't use a thumbless grip.

how to bench press

  • Bring the bar out and slowly lower it to your chest at about nipple height.

how to bench press image

  • Once it touches your chest, push back up making sure to keep your butt on the bench and your feet on the floor. Lock your arms all the way out at the top.

how to bench press

Common Bench Press Mistakes

  • Bringing your feet off the floor - Your feet should stay on the floor at all times when bench pressing. This is usually a common mistake when you are lifting a weight that is very heavy for you.
  • Bringing your butt off the bench - This is a major trap that many people fall into when benching. When you arch your back, your butt comes off the bench and you are putting a lot of excess stress on your body that can lead to injury.
  • Short range of motion - Make sure you are going all the way down to your chest and pushing the bar all the way up. Shorting the range of motion is keeping you from getting the full benefit of the lift!
Pullup:

How to do the Pull Up from gymjunkies.com on Vimeo.



Proper pullup form

  • Grip the bar with a palms facing out grip, or a palms facing you grip. Either one works...

How to do a pull up image

Pull up grips

  • Extend your arms all the way, and hang from the bar

pullup picture" width="178" height="318">

  • Pull your body up, and make sure your chin goes above the bar

How to do a pull up image

  • Slowly drop back down to a hanging position with your arms fully extended (don't cheat!)

Common Pull Up Mistakes

  • Full range of motion - This is the most common problem people have with the pullup. Make sure you go all the way down, and all the way up when you do a pullup. Don't short the range of motion at the bottom and hold yourself part of the way up. If you do, you're only cheating yourself of the full benefits of the exercise.
Muscles used when doing Pull Ups
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Teres major
  • Rhomboids
  • Trapezius
How to make a pull up harder
  • If a pull up is relatively easy for you and you can do 12 or more in one try, it's worth it to increase the difficulty of your pullups to increase your strength gains. There are a few ways to increase the difficulty of your pullup...
  • Wear a weighted vest (or bookbag) - A weighted vest is a great choice, as you can switch the weights in and out very easily. The only downside to this is weighted vests are slightly expensive (usually $100+). A good substitute is to use a good book bag and add weight plates to it.
  • Wear a weight belt and hang weights - Some gyms will supply these belts. If they do, they will come with a chain hanging from them. Just attach weight plates to the chain as needed.
  • Add resistance with bands - Attaching a band to the squat rack, and putting it behind your neck is a great way to add resistance to your pull ups.


Squat:

How to do the Squat from gymjunkies.com on Vimeo.


Proper Squat Form

  • Get underneath the bar and place the bar across the top of your posterior deltoids. Your arms should be out and gripping the bar about 5-7 inches outside your shoulder. The bar should be trapped between your hands and your delts. Your wrists should not be underneath the bar supporting the weight.
  • Unrack the bar from the power rack and take a step back (always unrack and step backward, never unrack the bar and walk forward). Some readers have noted that they think our picture is telling people to unrack the bar and then spin their body 180 degrees. This is not what we are recommending. Its very dangerous to try and spin with a bar on your shoulder (our pics are setup like this to provide the best pics for you)

how to squat properly

  • Start with your feet about shoulder width apart and angled out about 30-45 degrees

how to squat picture

  • Your butt should be slightly out, your eyes should be facing forward. Squat down, making sure to not round your back or bend over too far at the waist. For a full squat your hip crease (where your legs attach to your hip) should drop below the top of your knees.
  • Make sure your knees track your toes. This means your knees should be on the same path as the toes (not bending in, or bending way outside)

how to squat deep correctly image

  • When you get to the bottom, you're going to want to drive back up with your hips. This is very important! The hip drive is where all of your power will come from. A great tip I picked up from Mark Rippetoe is to think of someone pushing on the lower part of your spine. When someone is pushing on this part, your goal should be to push that hand up by driving your hips upward.
  • Continue to drive up and return to the standing position with your body fully erect.

Common Barbell Squat Mistakes

  • Knees not tracking the toes - Make sure that your knees follow the same alignment that your toes are positioned in. Don't bend your knees to the inside.
  • Leaning over at the waist - Many people perform their squats like a "Good Morning". Do not bend over at the waist and allow your back to absorb all the weight. This is very dangerous and can lead to a serious injury. Keep your back tight and straight with your chest out and shoulders back.
  • Putting your weight on your toes - The squat should be performed with most of your weight balanced and towards the heels. Putting weight on your toes, will put added stress on your knees which can lead to injury.


Lunge:

How to do the Lunge from gymjunkies.com on Vimeo.


How to properly perform the lunge

To perform the lunge, start with a barbell on your shoulders with your feet about hip width apart. Your shoulders should be back, your chest should be out and your eyes should be looking directly ahead of you.

How to do a lunge picture

  • Take a large step with your left leg to start, and make sure your left shin is almost perpendicular to the ground.

How to do a lunge picture

  • The trail leg (right leg) should stretch out and your knee should barely touch the ground.
  • Return to the standing position by driving through the heel of your lead foot (left foot) and pushing yourself back to a standing position with your feet hip width.

Common Lunge Mistakes

  • Bending over at the waist - Your upperbody should stay straight throughout the whole movement. The most common mistake with this is bending over at the waist and rounding the back. Keep your back straight and your eyes forward. This is prevented by sticking the chest out and throwing the shoulders back.
  • Taking a short step - A short step places a lot of added pressure on the knee, and does not fully work your butt like a full step lunge does.
  • Full range of motion - Make sure you are stepping all the way forward and that your trailing knee is touching the ground or almost touching the ground.
Muscles worked when doing a Lunge
  • Glutes (butt)
  • Quads


July 5, 2009

Americana

It is July 5th and I spent part of the day enjoying the sun and I manged to finish reading Douglas Coupland's Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture which I borrowed from the library months ago. It was great novel...I really ought to read more this summer.

Anyway I was on the porch looking around and I noticed all the American flags I could see...and realized this could be any town...not that Boston could be Anytown, USA but the area I live by, the homes with the small fences and the American flags out front and the small yard out back could be placed in towns across the country and not be all that out of place.

Maybe I was thinking that way because I spent last night at a traditional 4th of July Celebration in Newton, Massachusetts. Here's a few pictures:

Judging from my earlier post partially about obesity you can't spell American without fried dough.

Although some may say it's no longer cool...this 4th of July really was one of those idyllic family moments.


And what we waited all night to see (better than expected):



...hopefully I'll truly celebrate Canada Day next year.

The Beginning, The Middle, and The End

This weekend was one of sleeping in...and having concerns (about work, travel, friends, family) but it felt like...hey...all of that can wait. I've gone five days without shaving...something I can't do at least for another 61 days. It's the 'calm before the storm' I suppose.

Tomorrow is the beginning...the final run up to Berklee's 5-Week Performance Program. We are preparing for 1000+ students to arrive, check in, and want to be entertained.

It is the middle: chronologically it is just over the half way point of the time I've had off from Mount Allison and it feels as thought it's about halfway in terms of me physically getting back in shape.

It is also the beginning of the end-I know what I'm doing at work by now...and things are getting down to 'crunch-time' this week and again in August when waves of young adults arrive on campus.

Near the beginning of this summer (the end of April for me) this was little that needed to be done...and as I moved to Boston about ten days before I moved to Mount Allison I did not know anybody in the city. But now this solitude gives me the freedom to talk to those that I want to, to not have to decide between people; to have a break from much of the drama that accompanies college life. It's been slow at times but the next nine weeks won't be.

I'll be working overtime, going to New York City alone (maybe not ideal to some...but I feel it's great to get away from the familiar and be on your own...and it's New York City...I'm probably not going to have the time/money/proximity to see it any other time. I'll probably reread The Catcher in the Rye), maybe spending a weekend with friends on vacation at 6-Flags, and finally getting re-certified in CPR among other things.

It feels like it's getting closer to the end because almost all of my 'free time' has been scheduled and filled. It reminds me of early November and early March (at least at Mount Allison) when you know what you have for the rest of the year-what final essays you have to write, and which when your final exams are (for me: fall orientation). Eight weeks from Saturday morning is still a ways off but it'll go by more quickly than the last eight weeks have.

The 36th Annual Old Port Festival in Portland, Maine

About a month ago I took a trip to visit up a friend in Portland, Maine and we spent a little at the Old Port Festival...a family-friendly type one day festival. There was some fairly good music and it was nice to see a bit more of what there is in New England besides Boston. Sorry it's a bit late...a month turnaroud just shows you how busy things are here. Well it's not much but here it is:



At the docks.








Pete Kilpatrick Band



Playing Hotel California...realy authentic... straight "from the Andes"







A pocket of diversity in the oldest, whitest state in the country.


Paying our tab at a local, poor service, poor quality establishment that won't be named. Things like this make me miss loonies and twonies.

Analytics- Obesity and Why Nobody From Wyoming Reads This Blog

A couple seemingly unrelated things I'd like to comment on...first of all: people who read this blog. Since I began keeping track on October 21, 2008 with Google Analytics this blog had had 7,014 visits from 90 countries/territories (including places as far removed from the content of this blog as Hong Kong, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius, Ghana, and Iran (must have been before Iran tried shutting down internet access)) but not a single visit from the Great State of Wyoming. I'd been looking as maps like those below and just wondering how I could have attracted people from eastern Europe to visit my blog but not any from a state in the western United States.




The second topic is that of obesity...I haven't noticed nearly as many overweight and obese people in Massachusetts than I did in Illinois...and was curious enough to look up the statistics and it turns out that for the 2008 rankings, Massachusetts is the 48th fattest state in the union while Illinois is 27th. Wyoming was 33rd, with 1 in 4 Wyomingites (yeah...seriously Wyomingites...but that's better than Haligonians from Halifax) being obese. Maybe that's something that will get their attention.

Wyoming obesity rate remains steady
Associated Press - July 2, 2009 12:05 PM ET

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A new report says nearly 1 in 4 Wyoming adults are obese.

That's about the same rate as in last year's report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The obesity rate among Wyoming children also has held steady.

The sixth annual report, "F is for Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing America," showed obesity on the rise in 23 states. No states had significant decreases in obesity.

The report shows Wyoming does well in preventing overweight youth. Wyoming has the fifth-lowest rate of youth who are overweight or obese.