Friday, 29 February 2008

SDHP, Ring dips 080228

The porch lite
5 rounds for time
10 x 40kg SDHP
10 ring dips

9:20. 0:57, 1:39, 1:19, 2:15, 3:11

SDHP were OK.
Ring dips degenerated rapidly and were just negatives in the last 1.5 rounds.

I should have done Pack and subbed ring dip progressions. More rounds and less resistance would have been better in the long term. Hindsight's a wonderful thing.

Definitely established I still suck at ring dips. Bugger it.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Skill day

Given the running theme of my grizzling about not being able to do double-unders, I put some time in to practising. I've hammered the "I can't do DUs" thing a bit hard lately, time to stop I think, it's going from fun to whiny.

I got a buddy-lee rope the other day and it certainly helps. The rope is very quick and doesn't take much muscle to get moving quickly. I played with lengths a bit. The measurement they give is a bit too long for me and I tied a few loose knots in it to try different lengths and might have gone a little too far.

I did get some double-unders, one at a time, no way they were going to lead to multiples so I backed off and worked on just settling in to the whole jump-rope thing. In the end I got a bit tired and it took me I don't know how many tries to get to 10 continuous single-unders.

It's just a matter of plugging away and getting more comfortable with jumping again, getting a feel for the position of the rope, getting my wrist action smooth, keeping my shoulders relaxed and down, my jumps light.

Should have done this more when I was a kid. Actually I should have done this when I was a kid, I don't remember ever jumping rope. Handstands too. Way too much time with my nose in a book.

The SDHP and ring dip workout tomorrow. Finally, ring dips without something that fries your triceps in there too! Had a little play with the kipping ring dips OPT was doing as I shut up the shed and they do help. Whether it will be enough for me to power out full-depth unassisted dips tomorrow will be interesting to see.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Run 400, squat, back extn. 080226

5 rounds for time
Row 3min and hope it's 500m (400m run time used to be about 2min)
50 squats
30 supermen

I feel a little ill.

I seem to have cherry picked ME WODs lately and wanted to get a metcon in rather than yet another one with the pushes' push-presses etc.
Can't run (ankle) or do pull-ups (torn patch on my hands almost better) for "Eva" and don't know how long to row for to approximate 800m yet.

I didn't wait for GD's scaling. I figure I deserve to do the whole thing for abandoning Eva.
I'm such a cad.

The squats were like lightning.
Very, very, very, slow lightning.
I got a rhythm going in the 3rd round and did unbroken sets after that, but not fast. The last 20 of the last round I adjusted my foot position and found I could go a bit quicker.
I just need more experience, and/or a good coach, but I'll have access to the best in a few months.

And after putting everything back in the shed and re-organising it so Lynette can use the rower without my having to get the motorbike out first, I played with my new buddy-lee rope.
I got a few double-unders, but couldn't quite get 2 in a row. Or maybe I was trying to do triple-unders? I'll work it out when there's some blood in my brain.

But anyway, Firmdancer doesn't get hate mail anymore. Now I'm chasing her numbers. First one to 10 in a row buys the other a drink in Ramona Firmdancer.
Hey, I can get duty free and do it cheap! Oops, was that out loud?

Friday, 22 February 2008

I'm going to America!

Well was today a cool day!

Laura's birthday package arrived and she loved the sculptures. She showed phenomenal willpower and only ate one candy bar, at work. The quantity consumed at home is yet to be revealed. I'd have made myself sick, I'm a total sugar junkie.

HQ FINALLY posted the July CF kids cert on the main page and I paid my deposit.

I'm going to America!
I'm going to meet everyone at Brand X!

Anita (Firmdancer) is going too, so there'll be a mini satellite BrandXer meeting going on. Small number of delegates, but very enthusiastic. Until the first workout, LOL.

Any others able to make it?

I'm waiting for the Level 1 cert on the previous 2 days to be posted so I can book that too. I have my home machine monitoring the HQ page very minute and emailing me if the events posted change. I'll get a machine at work doing it too on Monday. I will NOT miss that cert if I can posssibly help it.

Anita's plan is the same as mine, to spend some extra time at BrandX and get some help from Jeff and the other trainers. In my case I'm thinking of a week before and at least a few days after the certs. Lynette is coming with me, which is really cool. I want her to try Crossfit at BrandX so she can learn it properly and safely and so I can see how people are supposed to be started. I won't get that with what they teach me, they'll be trying to break all of my bad habits.
I want to see how BrandX operate their business so I can see if it's something I might be able to do. I don't see how I could right now, but it's a dream. And to be able to teach kids! That would just be the best thing in the world!

I also emailed Brian, "the pose running guy" from Crossfit Newport Beach and he said to give him a yell when we get stateside and we'll see what we can do to sort out my crappy running. I hope I can fit that in, because without help, I'm going to keep wrecking my knees (heel striking) and/or my achilles (over-pushing) every time I run. I think the Pose method could work extremely well for me if I can learn it.

I also hope to make the pilgrimage to Santa Cruz and see Brendan and Shari and Annie and Zac and of course, Eva. Eva poses a problem though. I want to learn as much as I can from her, but I'll have such a limited time and she's so incredibly beautiful I'll probably spend all my time drooling. At least the beard makes that less obvious. If I can get past that she has a huge amount of knowledge about Crossfit that I'd love to tap into, she's been doing it since before it was called Crossfit.

So many things I want to do. So many people I want to meet (won't get time for Coach Burgener at all dammit!) and say hello and/or thank-you to. So many things I want to learn. So little time can I afford.

Time for the chorus:
I'm going to America!
I'm going to meet everyone at Brand X!

I'm so excited I'm practically incontinent!

Hang cleans 080220

Squat is assumed
3 x 30kg
3 x 35kg
3 x 40kg
3 x 45kg
3 x 47.5kg
3 x 50kg
3 x 52.5kg

I did power cleans twice at the start of the heavier sets, but didn't count those.
I caught pretty low, I think it was low enough to count as a full squat.
I know I pulled with my arms most of the time. I tried not to and made it a couple of times and the difference is quite striking.

Scared myself by catching with a soft back on one of the 50kgs. That's how I rupture disks. Did not do that again!

So I'm happy. I can catch low, I can jump and land, I can keep my arms straight.
That will do for now

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Randy 080213

As rx'ed (75 x 35kg power snatch)

I wanted to see if I could do it.

Snatches were mostly untidy.
I put some effort into catching with my head through the hole in the last 30. I tend to catch out front, so I thought it would be a good chance to try it.
I knew the weight wouldn't be too heavy and that fitness would let me down, which it pretty much did.

Fun though.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Nate 080212

6 pull ups
6 ring dips
2 Muscle-ups
4 Handstand Push-ups bridged on feet, 24"ish box.
8 24kg dumbbell swings

5 rounds.

Pull-ups; Kipped but singles. Ripped my hands again, but in a different spot from last time. I now at least have symmetrical wear patterns.
Ring-dips; Um, better than last time? They are definitley harder than fixed bar dips. I tried those again while I was waiting for my wife at her gym and the fixed bar version are much easier.
HSPUs; Yuck.
Dbell swings; I'm really worried I'm doing them wrong, they still don't feel hard. I was a little worried about my back which has been twingy again lately, probably all the long days sitting down recently, so I didn't pull the 'bell down as hard as I have in the past. But the up part feels light. I believe it's supposed to, I just can't believe I lucked onto the correct technique right off. I suppose it's possible.

Slightly disgusted with myself as I could have got 6 rounds if I'd applied myself a little more in the last round. I was sure I was only going to get another one in after the 5th so I slacked off. I know, I know!
When I looked at the watch after the HSPUs I had about 30 seconds left to run.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

True Love

I had a few other ideas for a title for this one, "First love", "Love at First Sight", "Mine!" were a few options, but I came back the original.

The hardest part of this was that @@#%^*(&$# coffee machine!
Polymer clay is fundamentally squidgy stuff. Making it look like machined metal is expletive deleted difficult!

And she got a silver one!
It was going to be orange or red, but she wound up getting a silver one. "Silver" polymer clay does not look anything like metal, so I had to look at alternatives.

Now that I've got that off my chest.

For me, coffee is a hot drink and a foul tasting one at that.
But Laura loves coffee.
I mean she looooves coffee.
Starbucks would go bust if she stopped drinking it.

She had lusted after one of these Espresso machines for months (that I know of, maybe longer) and her husband John bought her one for Christmas (and it was silver! Did I mention that?). She was rapt.
So the coffee machine is black polymer clay (DuKit again, of course) with the metallic effect coming from a coating of Pearl Ex powder. I'd never used this before, but had some small jars of it ready for the day that I knew I would. I didn't realise the powder would rub off easily even after baking, so I lost a bit on the back as I worked on it. That forced a stop to varnish it. The varnish made the markings on the dial run, so I had to paint the dial in white and redo-the markings.
I made a U shaped framework of aluminium wire inside the machine in case it sagged with the weight of that projecting top. I got the proportions a little wrong, it's actually more square than rectangular.

Aluminium wire for the rails around the top and translucent clay for the clear section that warms the milk or something in the back. I really know nothing about making espresso.
I forgot to add the steamer spigot (tricky) and the drain grills (easy), but we'll call that artistic license.

I covered the process of making the face for NinjaGirl, so just read that bit again.
I guess the only substantial difference is that the eyes are closed here and I had no idea how to portray that accurately. Fortunately the hair was going to cover most of the face, I have no idea how Laura sees through it, so any deficiencies were going to be largely obscured.

In the background you can see the arms ready to attach and an earlier version of the torso and legs that were far too bulky. Laura would probably say they're a more accurate representation, but who's making this thing anyway?
An annoying point is that I forgot the blasted laces on the shoes. I did them on the chunky bottomed version and forgot them on the final one. Bother!

Keeping your final vision for a piece in your head when you're looking at this is not easy and I lost it a couple of times. I had to start over and get back on track

Hands. I "cheated" and used one of Maureen Carlson's "what a figure" push moulds.

Pretty much finished figure.

I used Katherine Dewey's hair colouring and texturing techniques, or nearly for this and it was much better than anything I'd tried before. I didn't quite emulate Laura's hair cut (as copied by Katie Holmes and Posh Spice more recently) correctly, but I came pretty close.

The top (blouse?, I'm a guy, what do I know) was a challenge. I scratched my head for a bit trying to figure out how to copy the detailed flower design on the one Laura wears sometimes and decided to go for the same general look by slicing off shreds of red clay onto a sheet of pink and pressing it flat in the pasta machine. It's almost completely hidden in the final version, but I wanted it to be there.

Final assembly. Using a file to hold things in place while the epoxy dries.

There is an aluminium wire running inside the topmost extended leg to give it some strength against the occasional knock
I should have done one inside the bottom leg too, but the figure was originally going to be standing on that leg and reaching up to hug the espresso machine so it wasn't needed. As I went on I figured the figure could be laying on it and the idea of Laura making a flying leap (all the box jump practise Jason and Jeff make her do) onto the machine was much more in character.

Finished product


More angles and the rest of the photos are here.


This is the one I started first (October?) and finished last (0130 15-2-2008 NZDT).

I had two previous tries at setting up an armature for this one and they both kept growing until I was looking at a final height of about 8 inches for the overall sculpture. I kept being thrown by leaving portions of the wire extending beyond where the feet where supposed to be. I couldn't visualise that correctly and made the legs too long, so I made the body longer to match and the darn thing just grew.

So instead I re-read some of my books on sculpting and adopted a variation on Maureen Carlson's technique. I started with a small core of clay for the torso, which gave me a comparison point for the proportions.

I knew I was making more than one Laura face, so I spent a day sculpting one, baked it, made a mould of it from Miracle Mold (fantastic stuff) and used that as a push mould. I then realised the face looked nothing like Laura and spent another day on each one doing the best job my limited skill would allow to get a resemblance.
Lesson, polish the rust off your sculpting skills before you make masters for your moulds.

I finally got the nerve to try Katherine Dewey's technique for making eyes for sculpture again although I adapted it slightly. I coated round headed pins in a little clay and used Miracle Mold again for the mould that produces a nice hemisphere. No mould release required. If you want the full technique, buy Katherine's book. I have a signed self-published first edition. *smug*

The half completed face, resting on the mould

I had tried the eye making technique before, but the varnish I used stayed tacky for months and lost its shine when handled, so I had to find a better version.

As the figure was standing I used aluminium welding wire as armatures for the legs, I knew I'd have to bake it standing at least once in the process and I didn't want any collapses.

Legs and head as baked.

Then I hit one of those logistical things that hack you off.

I desperately wanted to get the arms on to work out the positioning, but I realised I needed to get the Gi jacket sorted out and first and to do the arms I needed to get the hands ready. So onto hands.

3 or 4 tries later I got some that looked like fists and weren't too big.

The two best views of the finished product are:


The overall positioning irritates me immensely. Laura set herself in a nice balanced position for the original photo and I emulated that, then tipped the whole thing over onto its toes for some reason that probably made sense at one in the morning, but which I cannot recall now.

You can see a few more angles, and all the rest of these photos here.

The original was this. Laura trying on her new Gi for Kenpo.

Laura's birthday

Happy Birthday Laura!

This post is partly to say that, partly to brag and mostly to put an end to Laura's misery.

I've been dropping hints to Laura since before Christmas that I was working on a present for her. Originally as a Christmas present, but when I missed that deadline I switched my focus to her birthday, which fortunately is, well today. I technically am not going to make that either, the package is still in transit, but I got it on the courier before the day, so that's got to count for something.

The present was in 3 parts:
  • Two sculptures in an NZ made polymer clay called DuKit, think Fimo or Sculpey, but much, much better, at least for my purposes.
    The Sculptures I titled "True Love" and NinjaGirl", see individual post where I explain their inspiration and construction, and weasel out of the deficiencies in my skill as a sculptor.

    Sculpting is something I love, but haven't done much of recently for a variety of reasons. Since late last year the itch to do some has been growing and ideas for figurines have been coming to me.
    These two were inspired by comments made in Laura and my email conversations.
    As you can see, I like doing what amount to caricatures and although I would like to try my hand at more realism, capturing character in a fun and amusing way is a skill all of its own. I'm not where I want to be in that yet, but these sculptures restored my faith that I might be able to get there if I keep at it.
  • Some lollies which I think are unique to NZ. Oh, that's candy to Americans and sweets in the UK.

The research into the lollies was interesting. In a global economy it's hard to be sure what is unique to, or originated in, NZ and especially hard to differentiate between Australia and New Zealand. I'm sure I've claimed a few things I shouldn't have.
One big surprise was Minties. I thought they were an English lolly that had migrated here, but apparently they started here. A taxonomy of confectionery would be an interesting study.
The final list of lollies was:
  • Minties
  • 2 x Picnic bars
  • 2 x Crunchie bars
  • 2 x flake bars (original yucky milk chocolate, not the white or dark chocolate versions)
  • 2 x Pinky bars
  • 2 x Bounty bars

The contents of the package looked like this before it was packed.

"True Love" is in the striped box, but you can see "NinjaGirl" still. She kind of grew as I made her and didn't fit in the same sized box as "True Love" when she was finished.

Oh, and a ton of bubble wrap.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Push jerks

3 x 50kg
3 x 55kg
3 x 55kg
3 x 57.5kg PB
3 x 57.5kg
3 x 57.5kg
3 x 60kg PB and the most weight I've ever had overhead.

I'm afraid they largely wound up being push presses. I couldn't quite catch most of them with arms locked.
I probably should have worked on that instead of moving up.
No, I definitely should have worked on that instead of moving up. Mad

Funny how it's blindingly obvious now, but that just never occurred to me between sets.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Front Squats 080204

So it went.
3 x 50kg
3 x 52.5kg
3 x 55kg
3 x 57.5kg
3 x 60kg

I think tripling front squats equals my all time PB. I may have done more for a single, but I can't remember, it was a very long time ago.

Everything up to the 60 was nice.
60 was untidy but not ugly and was legal.

I didn't hurt my back which pleases me no end. My hip is a bit dodgy, I really should do some walking and get that a bit more solid.

For me that's pretty good.
I need to get a bit of a margin on there so I can do Fran as prescribed. My press has been coming along faster than my front squat, which is no surprise given my body structure and back injuries. Of course I need to work on my metabolic conditioning a lot too, but getting the basic horsepower to move the weight is a good thing.

And I have no idea why I did a front squat workout. It should have been Joshie I think. For some reason I had it in my head that I needed to do a front squat version of the back squats from a few days back.
I'm glad I did, but it means I'm cherry picking again and I'm trying hard to be honest about this.

Monday, 4 February 2008


Ring dips


I used about every sub in the book for that one.
HSPUs started out piked with my feet on a 5foot surface. Next round my arms had gotten longer or there was very localised subsidence right where I was putting my head because I kept going sown and down and when I'd gone as far as I could I still hadn't touched the ground. So feet at 5foot became feet on a 12inch plyo box sitting on the back porch. About 20inches?

Dips started as very short range full dips, became jumping negatives and finished as beginners ring dips.

Push-ups stayed as full push-ups, but, broken is inadequate. Splintered? Maybe even powdered, is closer.

I hate JT with a passion. No, not true. I hate how badly I do JT.
It hits all the things I'm worst at. But doing it makes me better for the WODs that have those things mixed with things I don't totally suck at.
It's a great WOD, I just can't do it.