Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Virginia's Hurricane Preparedness Tax Holiday and the Princeton Tec FUEL Headlamp

May 25-31 is Virginia's Hurricane Preparedness Tax Holiday, when you can buy a bunch of supplies that are useful for both emergencies and regular existence, all exempt from state sales tax.

The list of tax-exempt stuff includes duct tape, ice packs, batteries, first aid kits, emergency radios, tarps, coolers, generators, fire extinguishers, glow sticks, and of course, flashlights. (See the full list on the VA Tax site.)

Actually, looking at the list, you have both the fundamentals of a home disaster kit, as well as the fixings for a fairly swingin' beach party.

Now, I've been on something of a headlamp kick lately (which I will discuss in a later entry), and as luck would have it, Dicks's Sporting Goods has the Princeton Tec FUEL on sale for $19.98 until Friday, 5/28.


At the Dick's in the Dulles Town Center, they had the older 3-LED model, as well as the newer 4-LED model, both at that price. The 4-LED model is marginally brighter, with a slightly lower run time; either one should be fine (both take 3 AAA batteries, included.)

I haven't had a chance to play much with the FUEL yet, though in general, I'm a fan of Princeton Tec lights. The Dick's sale price is already better than most places I've seen online, and with sales tax out of the way, you get the instant gratification and the added savings over shipping and handling costs.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hey Man, Nice Purse

The backlight on my Macbook died last week. After a few days hooking it up to various external monitors (did that get old quick), I took it to the Apple Store on Saturday. 

I figured that it was probably a loose inverter cable or something, and that I'd get it back by end of day. Wrong.

Right now, it's being sent off for a Flat Rate Out of Warranty repair. We'll see if I get it back. I should probably have put the money towards a new unibody MacBook, but I don't like being forced to upgrade.

The dumb thing (besides getting yelled at by a delivery truck driver in the Town Center -- FYI, dickhead, if 2 cars arrive at a 4-way-stop, who yields to whom? Yeah, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right. Blow me) is that I'm still carrying my personal laptop bag around, without the laptop in it.

Yes, it has my laptop accessories, but it's also full of other stuff -- pens, markers, camera accessories, duct tape, first aid kit, headlamp, notebook, multitool, flashlights, etc. So it's basically a purse.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Intrigue & Treachery: Dumb Gym I Have Done Lately

After a lazy winter and various self-inflicted ailments and excuses, I'm mostly back on track at the gym.

For me, back on track theoretically means I'm switching between light, medium and heavy sets every 4-6 weeks (a fairly standard routine to prevent your body from adapting and plateauing), though truth be told, there's not really all that much difference in poundage between my "light" and "heavy" workouts.

Along with the shift in weights, you're also supposed to shift your eating, with the focus during light cycles (note: not a Tron reference) on cutting some of the fat weight you inevitably gain during the heavy, muscle-building phases.

Truth be told here, as well, there's not really all that much of a difference in my eating during light and heavy phases, and since your eating habits trump your workout habits, this lack of food discipline is probably why I don't make more progress in either my light or my heavy phases. (Although I do enjoy the "more eating" bit during heavy phases, it's not always the best quality, nor of the recommended 4-6 smaller meals spread throughout the day.)

I have been getting better about cardio, though. I still can't really run more than a mile straight without my knees hurting, but I've been focusing more on intervals, both 2-minute high/1-minute low on the treadmill and eliptical, and 20-second sprint/10-second recovery (Tabata intervals) on the jump rope (which never gives me any problem, since I'm landing on my toes -- it's the heel strike that kills me) or Versa climber (which keeps getting moved farther and farther to the back, since no one I've seen ever really uses them).

I like the compactness of interval workouts, though my "sprint" speed isn't all that speedy. I make up for that by being exceptionally slow during my recovery periods.

Listen all y'all, it's a sabotage
In a Fitness First Reston facility update, if you want to use the speed bag (I never have, though I occasionally take a whack at the heavy bag), you have to sign it out at the desk.

From the note posted on the wall, this was done because of repeated sabotage -- apparently, the noise from people working the speed bag annoyed some person or persons enough to take it into their own hands to take it out of commission. Odd.

Other than that, the rope machine (which is one of the odder pieces of equipment I've every seen) is still broken; there's a donations box for one of the trainers who was hit by a drunk driver; and I still think it's perverse to take the escalator up to the second floor so I never do it (even if it means occasionally running into someone in the stairwell.)