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PaulG: Sentenced to Curls-munity Service


PaulG

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Welp, it's the eve of 2021, my sentence has been handed down, I'm kicking off the New Year with a terrible pun, and like anyone forced into community service...

 

tenor.gif?itemid=3555062

 

Side note: it's remarkably hard to find a Misfits GIF that IS safe for work.

 

Goals:
1) Strength: Improve Function in My Left Shoulder.
In a final act of spite, 2020 saw fit to knock me down a peg in my strength training one more time and hit me with mild strength imbalance/tendon injuries to the left shoulder (left proximal long head biceps tendinopathy, if you're curious) and hip. I'd hoped to spend January '21 shoring up my pullup numbers and adding in some pike pushup work... but now I need to work these out first. Luckily, I seem to have found promising plans to solve both. My shoulder PT will be worked on my workout days, 3x per week. My hips, which seem to be more of a mobility/weakness issue related to snapping hip syndrome, I'll work both on workout and mobility days.
 
This means that for the next few weeks -- probably at least four -- my strength training won't lend itself to rigid goals. It doesn't make sense to set goal for a new PR, or even a goal number of workouts per week; I'll be auto-regulating everything based on whether my injuries are aggravated or not. So instead, the ONLY goal for strength this challenge is to improve function.
 
Right now, I can do 18 physical therapy-style bicep curls with 1.7lbs on each side. At the end of the challenge, I'll assess: can I do more curlz than I could do at the start? Have I gotten to a point where some strength work doesn't aggravate the tendon? Does my biceps tendon work better than it did before, or worse? Even if the improvement doesn't end up looking exactly the way I expected, if my shoulder has improved, that'll be an A.
 
 
2) Mobility: Hip + Hamstring work every mobility/class day.
Along with my 3x/wk workout schedule, I've had good success sticking to an extra 2 days of mobility work per week. Plus, I usually have one day of parkour class per week (though I've skived off the last two weeks, and I'll probably miss a couple more due to the injuries). All that adds up to (supposedly) 6 days of mobility and light prehab work per week, which is supposed to keep the joints tippy-top. (Obviously it's been working like gangbusters.)
 
The idea for this challenge: every mobility and class day, I'll include work for both my hips and hamstrings to fix my snapping hip. This is my routine, more or less:
 
  • Couch stretch
  • Jefferson curls/hamstring stretches
  • Sitting single-leg hip flexions
  • Sitting single-leg lifts in a middle split hold position (yes, this is actually all I can do in a MHS position 😞 )
  • Supine internally-rotated hip flexions
  • Quadruped kicks
  • Single-leg romanian deadlifts
 
3) Diet: Stick to a meal plan.
Of 2020's many challenges, one of the few things that went pretty unequivocally right  last year was my diet. I knocked out two largely successful cuts, added some variety to my diet, and got lots of practice at recipes and techniques I wasn’t familiar with, like cooking in a wok. The downside: as Thanksgiving turned into Christmas, all this home cooking started to leave me with a little cooking fatigue.
 
Since my bulk is on hold for another month or two, my next goal will be to kick that fatigue by sticking to a meal plan. The idea here isn’t to slavishly follow a rigid menu every day; it’s just to make cooking in the evenings more enjoyable by doing most of the work (bumming around finding a recipe) in advance. If I eat leftovers a couple extra nights, fine. If I decide a meal I didn’t plan is speaking to me that day, cool. But I WILL make a plan to work from each week, and I shouldn’t need to eat out for convenience’s sake more than once a week.
 
4) Life: Improve my living situation.
A lot is competing for this slot in January ‘21: I was tempted to choose a financial goal, or something musical. But I kiiinda have a deadline coming up... the lease on my apartment expires on 1/30/2021. The unit I live in is already quite expensive for its size, and I’m not interested in letting them hike the rent on me this year. So instead of sinking a bunch of time into a fun hobby, January’s going to be about cutting a good deal on a new lease.
 
This goal’s a little squishy because I’m not quite sure what “improvement” means yet. I would really like to pay less for the unit I’m living in... but I’d be more than happy to pay a reasonable amount for a bigger, more up-to-date apartment. So first step is to start looking at other places in my area, and we shall see what the market’s like.
 
5) Life (again): Write a plan.
Waaay back when Covid started, I sat down with myself and wrote out a plan: a list of long-, medium- and short-term physical goals, along with a calendar for when I might expect to meet them. Nine months later, it’s very out-of-date. I’ve pulled from that goal list since and tried to write in some new ones as I check off my original list, but it’s been haphazard.
 
So by the end of this challenge, I intend to pull the whole plan out of mothballs, expand it, and carry it through the end of 2021. It will help me a lot to have some solid long-term goals to strive for. What’s more, I intend to do the same (though maybe without the strict calendar) for my next year of overall life goals.
  
BONUS GOAL: Finish two books. 
Not much to this one! I keep buying or getting gifted new books, particularly on food, and the list of things on my bookshelf I haven’t actually read is starting to get uncomfortably long. I’m already halfway through Koji Alchemy, which I got for Christmas, so this feels doable.
 
All right, I think that's more than enough! Let's close this out with the traditional basic stats and workout log nonsense.
 
Current Stats:
Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 176.4 lbs
Age: 32
Waist Measurement: 28 3/4 inches
Bodyfat: 13% 
 
Workout Log Legend
Spoiler
Since my training is primarily bodyweight, I use a notation that allows me to log a lot of variables. I log weight (if used), sets, reps, my Form quality, and my rate of perceived exertion. 
 
Form: 
a: high-quality form maintained throughout the set. No issues or very minor issues. 
 
b: Average/above-average form. No major issues, but maybe some smaller details need ironing out. (For example, didn't hit my chest to bar quite where I wanted in a pull-up, or didn't focus on scapular retraction as much as I could have in a row.)
 
c : Below average form. I did the exercise, but didn't do it right. Some possible major issues, though not severe safety issues.In chest-to-bar pullups, chest didn't hit the bar.
 
d: Poor form, major problems. This is probably a signal I should be ending the set early. If I didn't, I probably deserve chastisement. 
 
RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion):  I shamelessly stole Waldo's system for grading his RPEs, which he outlined in a blog post on StrengthUnbound.com (which sadly, no longer exists). Since it’s tough to find a good explanation on this anymore, here’s mine. 
  
My rating is based on Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion system, which is used sometimes in the sports training world. The idea is to track how close to failure I get in each set of an exercise. The original system is a 1-10 scale, but I took a page from the book of an old-hat member (Waldo) and chucked that out the window. The idea is that strength workout sets should nearly always go close to failure, if not to failure itself, so I have no interest in the first 6 numbers on the scale.
  
E: Easy work. Two or more reps left in the tank. This covers pretty much any number from 1-7. My goal is to only see this letter when I’m doing rehab/prehab exercises, or remedial work to build up joint strength, balance or form, like pistol prep work. Otherwise, I should be pushing harder.
  
X: Held one rep in the tank. Rep speed slowed noticeably, slight grind, but not at failure. This is where I try to keep most of my work, especially early in the workout.
  
Y: Hit failure or very close when I’m working out calm, may have stopped right before physically crapping out, but couldn’t have performed another rep without really amping myself up. Final rep was grinding and slow.
  
Z: Hit true failure and needed to pump myself up to do it — jumping, making noises, etc. Very slow, grinding final rep. 
 
/: denotes left/right reps in a set of a single-limb exercise. For example, 5/3 reps on a pistol squat means 5 reps on my left leg, 3 reps on my right. 
 
(): used for my eccentric exercises where I need to note both reps and time under tension. For example, a set of pull-up negatives shown as 3(6s) is 3 reps of 6 seconds each. 
  
There are other techniques that deserve extra notation, of course, but these are the ones I'm using in my current workout. 

 

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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As someone also having to do ALL THE MOBILITY to iron out niggles that threaten progress - including random ones I swear are doing it for funzies -  following! Also, I am loving how many of us have reading goals this time around.

 

Hope your search for a decently priced unit -or reduction in price for the one you are in - goes well!

Rangers Gonna Ranger

Current Challenge: The Adventures of Rhovaniel: Vol I

Previous Challenges: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13 1415|16|17|18|19|20|21|22|23|24|25

 

2021 Quests:

Run 3 Laps of Oblivion| Run and Complete Man vs Lakes | Achieve a full pull up| Achieve 10+ unbroken push ups| Write 90,000+ words of a novel (0/90,000)| Read at least 20 books (4/20)

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Following along for all the curlz

HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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19 hours ago, Rhovaniel said:

As someone also having to do ALL THE MOBILITY to iron out niggles that threaten progress - including random ones I swear are doing it for funzies -  following! Also, I am loving how many of us have reading goals this time around.

 

It's almost as though us folks on this site are particularly likely to get books for the holidays...

 

18 hours ago, Harriet said:

Following for curls.

exercise GIF

 

working out GIF

 

16 hours ago, Epsilonte said:

Following again!! :D Can't wait to see what you cook up this time. Have fun with the PT exercises and mobility stuff and good luck on finding a nice place to live. :) 

 

 

11 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Following. I like the look of your hip work.

 

I think I may like the look of it more than my hips do...

 

11 hours ago, DoubleTrouble said:

Lurking :ph34r:

Hoping your shoulder PT and apartment search goes well

 

Thanks! Looking forward to getting back to badger practice.

 

10 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Following along for all the curlz

 

curls GIF

 

10 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

Following for the food porn, but I guess you can talk about other stuff too! 😜

 

We all know we're really here for the food porn

 

5 hours ago, deftona said:

Here for the curls, books, potential pies and the rest of the awesome stuff that goes on here. 

 

I've been resisting the urge to combine everything and round off the holidays by getting myself a book on pies...

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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Sunday was my first workout of the challenge! Such as it was.

 

Workout Log 12/27/20
- Going In: Felt good, and I was optimistic about being able to return to regular strength work (didn't last).

Warmup

Incline Archer Rows: 7/7a-x

Pushups: 8a-e
- Immediately felt radicular pain in my left shoulder. I was shocked -- usually pushups are really easy for me.

Knee Pushups: 12a-e, 10a-e
- Felt these in the left shoulder a lot less.

Ring Rows: 13a-e, 10a-e

Overhead Straight-Arm Lower (1.7lbs): 15/15a-6, 17/17a-6
- These ultimately convinced me that yes, it's the long head biceps tendon that's giving me problems.
Sidelying Can (1.7lbs): 18/18a-6, 18/18a-5
Upright Ext Rotation (1.7lbs): 21/21a-6, 21/21a-5

Cooldown

- All in all, frustrating… but I had a breakthrough with that biceps tendon work.

- Meant to do some hip mobility and compression work… but I plum forgot.

 

This was basically all I did with my Sunday, aside from continue crushing my copy of Koji Alchemy. I read clear through the sections on amino pastes with meat curing, nutty ideas popping into my head the whole way. For example: making a miso paste from tomatoes (I think it's possible, but I'm not yet 100% sure how), which would of course create the ultimate comfort food: grilled cheese and tomato miso soup (!). Maybe... tomato miso noodle soup? Also considered how koji might be added to a salmon cure for a nova lox sort of deal, something I could put on a bagel.

 

Dinner on both Sunday and Monday nights was pretty basic, and not incredibly photogenic. Since koji was on the brain, I added some shio koji to a pork chop marinade I usually steal out of the Thai grilling canon: soy sauce, oyster sauce, palm sugar. Turns out it was a good idea: it made the pork taste extra-porky and turned up some of the caramely, fruity flavors of the palm sugar. This book may turn me into a monster, I'll be trying to jam koji into everything.

 

Monday, I dug out a recipe for Jaw Phak Kat from one of Andy Ricker's cookbooks. It's supposed to be a pork rib soup with lots of fermented soybeans and mustard greens. I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time, but I kept putting it off because I basically never buy pork ribs. Finally, I said eff it, and I did it with chicken thighs instead. Both nights, I did the bare minimum to make dinner multiple-course by just steaming some sticky rice and digging a little chile relish out of the fridge for a veggie.

 

gfWzRYc7_o.jpg

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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16 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

I'm picturing this scene now:

"Good morning, Would you like some breakfast breakfast - I've prepared koji cereal, koji fruit bowl, and koji coffee." 😄


I fully intend to make amazake and then try to use it for any number of things, especially fruit. So at least 1/3 of those are totally within the realm of possibility. :D But I’ve promised myself I’ll bottle that cider first.

 

1 hour ago, juliebarkley said:

Also here for the curls and hip work. The food is just a happy bonus.

 

Yay! Maybe by the end of the challenge I’ll have a real-person middle split hold to show off.

 

 

So not long after my workout yesterday, my laptop (on which I record and format all these logs using Excel) suddenly started making a noise that sounded a LOT like a coffee grinder. I have a feeling it’s the hard drive. The thing is 10 years old anyway, and was already having graphics card problems. Looks like I’m in the market for a new laptop! Which is less than ideal, because my phone has been about to give up the ghost ever since I dropped it in that lake... sigh. Nothing ever falls apart quite when you want it to (which would preferably be AFTER I lock down an apartment).


But hey, I still did a workout, tiny though it may be.

 

Workout Log 12/29/20
 
Warmup
 
Knee Pushups: 12a-e, 12a-e
 
Ring Rows: 11a-e, 13a-e
 
Overhead Straight-Arm Lower (1.7lbs): 21/21a-5, 21/21a-6
 
Sidelying Can (1.7lbs): 21/21a-6, 21/21a-6
 
Upright Ext Rotation (1.7lbs): 21/21a-5, 21/21a-6
 
Compression Work: 2x10s
- Started feeling some twinges in the lower back for some reason, so I chilled on these for the day.
 
Reverse Hypers: 4b-x
- After the lower back twinge, I threw these in for fun. Surprisingly hard.
 
Cooldown
 
 
I don’t know how I had the energy for it, but post-workout I went straight into Dinner.
 
Up front I should admit: in my last post, I lied to you. :( I thought I’d made that soup Monday, but in fact everything I said was off by a day because I LIED (forgot). Monday was simply leftover soup. But since I didn’t have anything else to do Monday, I made salsa negra.
 
This salsa is... something else. There seem to be a lot of versions depending on which recipe you use. I used Alex Stupak’s, which is essentially a crap-ton of morita chiles, fried in animal fat (I used schmaltz), soaked in piloncillo syrup, blended, and then thrown back in a pan with some more schmaltz to cook down. What came out was a dark, tar-like substance that tasted just like molasses, but with a big ol’ backbone of smoke and chile heat.
 
With the hard part — the salsa — out of the way, all I had to do Tuesday was grill a pork chop, fry a spoonful of sesame seeds in the leftover fat, and serve. Oh, and make the tortillas, because I don’t think I can live without homemade corn tortillas any longer — even on a post-workout weeknight.
 
3ICoYs8O_o.jpeg

And yes, I was annoying and marinated that pork chop in koji — along with a little liquid smoke, since the original recipe was for bacon tacos.
 
Finally... I have delayed posting this a little, but I DID work up a meal plan. It covers Zero Week through to the end of Week 2. There’s a lot there, but I think it’s fairly simple/doable, as long as I keep an eye on it when I do my grocery shopping.
 
Meal Plan:
Spoiler
Monday:
 
Tuesday:
Pork loin tacos (based on Alex Stupak's recipe for bacon & salsa negra tacos from Tacos: Recipes and Provocations)
 
Wednesday:
 
Thursday:
Pork chop!
 
Friday:
 
Saturday:
 
Sunday:
Carne Adovada
 
Monday:
Leftovers!
 
Tuesday:
Phat Wun Sen
 
Wednesday:
Paella
 
Thursday:
Guai Wei Mian
 
Friday:
Paella leftovers?
 
Saturday:
Bucatini all’Amatriciana
 
Sunday:
More leftovers
 
Monday:
Chicken tacos
 
Tuesday:
Stuffing!
 
Wednesday:
Pork loin tacos again, prolly?
 
Thursday:
Char Siu
 
Friday:
Wings of some kind
 
Saturday:
Lushui Beef

 

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Cowardly Assassin
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7 minutes ago, PaulG said:

So not long after my workout yesterday, my laptop (on which I record and format all these logs using Excel) suddenly started making a noise that sounded a LOT like a coffee grinder. I have a feeling it’s the hard drive.

Actually, my first instinct would be something off with the fan - could be as simple to fix as tightening up a loose screw.

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23 minutes ago, juliebarkley said:

Actually, my first instinct would be something off with the fan - could be as simple to fix as tightening up a loose screw.


Ooh, this is a good point! I have no doubt that other things are on the verge of failure too, but cleaning or servicing the fan might get me another month or two out of this POS if I’m lucky. Looks like it’s time to dig the tiny computer tools out of storage. Thank you for the tip!

Cowardly Assassin
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Damnnnn that salsa + chop + tortillas... gorg. 😍

 

It's a great time to be a renter in most major cities, so I hope the market is looking good in your area too. Apartment hunting always starts out fun but quickly grows tiresome. Fingers crossed you have good luck! 

 

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Raptron, alot assassin

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I love the meal plan  It reminds me that I really ought to do something similar.

 

Also, do you have any recommendations for good tortillas?  I have run out and was going to buy some but realized from your post above that perhaps it would be good to try making some myself

HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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On 12/30/2020 at 8:40 PM, juliebarkley said:

Actually, my first instinct would be something off with the fan - could be as simple to fix as tightening up a loose screw.

 

I wanted to thank you again for the nudge toward looking under the hood! Sadly, my small electronics tools seem to be a casualty of an old move, so I picked up a screwdriver set and instead of a spudger it looks like I’ll be going in with a credit card. I’ve popped the case open but haven’t actually started yet. Hopefully, that noise is just a matter of dust buildup — there’s a lot of it in there.

 

I’ve been posting a little less because writing long form posts and posting photos is a PITA without a laptop, but my plan is to get the laptop working today if possible.

 

On 12/31/2020 at 2:27 AM, Epsilonte said:

That salsa sounds delicious! And the pork chop looks delicious!! 

Fingers crossed that you can extend the life of your poor laptop for a few months. 

 

Agreed! It is indeed a poor laptop, and it would be VERY nice not to need to dip into my travel savings to buy a new one. I don’t want to have to choose between that and @KB Girl’s Salzburg idea. :D

 

On 12/31/2020 at 12:36 AM, KB Girl said:

That might be the most attractive pork chop I've ever seen. 

 

It’s the magic of koji, yo. All those free amino acids and sugars it creates make meats brown like crazy. Anything that’s spent some time with koji, I have to cook on extra-low heat to keep it from burning before the inside cooks through.

 

22 hours ago, raptron said:

Damnnnn that salsa + chop + tortillas... gorg. 😍

 

It's a great time to be a renter in most major cities, so I hope the market is looking good in your area too. Apartment hunting always starts out fun but quickly grows tiresome. Fingers crossed you have good luck! 


Thanks! Of all my goals, the apartment hunt is the most intimidating to me. I negotiate all the time for my day job, but I hate negotiating in person, and I know I’ll have to if I want to explore the option of living in the same apartment complex. I’ve never negotiated over my own living situation before. 😬

 

6 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I love the meal plan  It reminds me that I really ought to do something similar.

 

Also, do you have any recommendations for good tortillas?  I have run out and was going to buy some but realized from your post above that perhaps it would be good to try making some myself


For sure! Are you thinking flour or corn? I think flour is a little more involved, corn is easier. Storebought corn tortillas are also way crappier — I thought I hated corn tortillas until I tried a homemade one — so I think corn makes more sense to make yourself on the reg.

 

If you can find masa harina in your area, you can make corn tortillas in like 20 minutes total. If you want me to go a little into my process for either kind, I’m happy to.

 

 

Since I’m catching up on at least 3 days of updates, I should probably spread it over a couple posts.

 

Not a ton of for Wednesday and Thursday. Most of those two days was spent furiously working, and continuing my mobility work — I’m starting to do more hip stretches and exercises on my

work breaks, which seems to be having a positive effect on the hip. It also means I’ve already gotten in my two mobility days for this week on Monday and Wednesday! 

 

Funnily, on Wednesday my apartment sent me notice that they have a new lease for me to sign, which is a time-limited “offer” that ends on 1/15. The only terms of the offer they told me, though, is that they’ll replace my faucet with a touchless one... something they would do anyway if I moved out. Plus, a touchless faucet? Who even uses one of those in their homes? Color me unimpressed. 🙄 I have NOT actually started hunting to get an idea of market pricing, though. I know I should start, so I have an actionable counteroffer by the end of Week 1.

 

Dinner I went off the meal plan so I could use up a few ingredients (mainly some dried bread). Meet: post-Thanksgiving sage sausage stuffing. Baked in a cast iron pan, due to laziness.

 

cR4ZMAy7_o.jpeg


Thursday I went back to my meal plan and made huaren ban tuding, or rabbit in bean sauce — a delicious little dish of poached rabbit (or just chicken thigh) with peanuts, doubanjiang, douchi, and chile oil. It’s a delicious little rice bowl-type meal, that I’ve made a couple times, but somehow it always seems to get devoured before I think to snap a photo.

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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That lease offer sounds a little like my car insurance renewal letters, where they offer you some ridiculous price and act like it's a gift. 🙄 

 

Go get on that apartment search! There's bound to be something better out there. In regards to negotiating, can you convince yourself that it's a 'work project'? Hard I know, but it might help you get into the right mindset to succeed with it. 

 

 

And, lazy or not, your dinner looks delicious!!

Rangers Gonna Ranger

Current Challenge: The Adventures of Rhovaniel: Vol I

Previous Challenges: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13 1415|16|17|18|19|20|21|22|23|24|25

 

2021 Quests:

Run 3 Laps of Oblivion| Run and Complete Man vs Lakes | Achieve a full pull up| Achieve 10+ unbroken push ups| Write 90,000+ words of a novel (0/90,000)| Read at least 20 books (4/20)

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Good luck on the apartment negotiation my man! If you have any wisdom or tips you accumulate, please do share as I’ll be looking at lease renewal stuff in a couple months (lease ends in May, but I have to give 60 days notice when I intend to move out).

 

Also, any insight into making homemade corn tortillas would be excellent! I’m unimpressed with store bought ones but didn’t realize they were that quick to make at home!

 Ballroom dancer, data nerd, calisthenics dabbler

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8 hours ago, PaulG said:

I wanted to thank you again for the nudge toward looking under the hood! Sadly, my small electronics tools seem to be a casualty of an old move, so I picked up a screwdriver set and instead of a spudger it looks like I’ll be going in with a credit card. I’ve popped the case open but haven’t actually started yet. Hopefully, that noise is just a matter of dust buildup — there’s a lot of it in there.

 

I’ve been posting a little less because writing long form posts and posting photos is a PITA without a laptop, but my plan is to get the laptop working today if possible.

Making the fan go WHIZZZZ with the canned air is always fun. :) And with the back off, it should be easier to tell what's making the noise. If the fan is loose, it might only get loud if it gets tilted to certain positions. Could also be a wire or bit of connector that just touches it and needs to be shoved back out of the way.

 

And good luck on the apartment research!

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10 hours ago, Rhovaniel said:

That lease offer sounds a little like my car insurance renewal letters, where they offer you some ridiculous price and act like it's a gift. 🙄 

 

Go get on that apartment search! There's bound to be something better out there. In regards to negotiating, can you convince yourself that it's a 'work project'? Hard I know, but it might help you get into the right mindset to succeed with it. 

 

 

And, lazy or not, your dinner looks delicious!!


That’s an interesting idea. I think the reason it’s a drag is that the research actually feels very similar to my day job. I definitely don’t relish doing that kind of grunt work in my off-time when I spend so much time doing it during the week. Still, it’s gotta get done; I think I’ll start just ploughing the first half hour of my day into it, or the first half hour post-work on weekdays.

 

10 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

Good luck on the apartment negotiation my man! If you have any wisdom or tips you accumulate, please do share as I’ll be looking at lease renewal stuff in a couple months (lease ends in May, but I have to give 60 days notice when I intend to move out).

 

Also, any insight into making homemade corn tortillas would be excellent! I’m unimpressed with store bought ones but didn’t realize they were that quick to make at home!


Thanks! I’ll definitely share.

 

Corn tortillas are not difficult. I learned to make them mainly from a couple of Rick Martinez videos and a recipe out of Alex Stupak’s book Tacos. It will take me a minute to find something online but I’ll find something for ya.

 

 

Thursday was mostly comprised of: this workout!

 

Workout Log 12/31/20
 
Warmup
 
1-Leg Straight-Leg RDLs +12lbs: 6/6b-x, 4/4a-x
 
Knee Pushups: 12a-e, 12a-e
 
Ring Rows: 14a-e, 14a-e
 
Overhead Straight-Arm Lower (1.7lbs): 25/25a-5, 20/20a-6
Sidelying Can (1.7lbs): 25/25a-6, 25/25a-6
Upright Ext Rotation (1.7lbs): 25/25a-5, 23/23a-6
 
Compression Work: 4x10s
 
Cooldown
 
- I did a bunch of mobility work to prepare for RDLs in the warmup. Only went through a little in the cooldown, though I got in some couch stretching and MHS hip flexions.
 
- I’m starting to mentally separate between the full, longer mobility routine for my hamstrings + hips (which can take about 20 minutes) and a shorter one that I’m trying to get in the habit of doing twice a day. On my first break at work, and then again right after work, I’ll run through a shortened mobility routine with just one round each of a brief couch stretch, some hip flexions, and hamstring stretching + RDLs.
 
Friday was a New Year (🥳) and a check-in on a couple of longer-term projects. First, I checked in on some lacto-pickled tomatoes I briefly mentioned last Saturday. They’re coming  along nicely, almost done. I tasted one, and I was amazed by how much the pickling process can brighten a tomato’s flavor: between the new acid and the salt, it really pops. I think they’d make a great sauce, but I wouldn’t want to cook them. I’m not sure yet how I’ll use them.
 
Second, I decided to start curing a chunk of pancetta.
 
 

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I didn’t have all the traditional spices for pancetta, which are generally juniper, garlic, bay and thyme. So I improvised. I had the juniper and garlic on hand; I forgot the bay entirely; and I didn’t have thyme, so instead I threw in a spoonful of za’atar.

 

This new pancetta also has (you guessed it) dried koji worked into the cure, which is why it looks like it has a bunch of cereal rubbed all over it in the bag.

 

Why crowbar a rice mold into cured meat? Well, along for its well-known uses in saccharifying rice and other grains, and breaking down proteins in beans and meats,  koji has been observed to speed up meat cures, aging effects and moisture loss — basically, it seems to shorten the time you need to hang charcuterie to age and dry it. I’ve heard rumors of people making full-on prosciutto hams in as little as six months. Personally, I’m just curious to see what effect it will have, and I’ll be happy if it knocks a couple days off the two-week-long curing and hanging process for this little chunk of pork belly.

 

And finally, as you can see above... on Friday, I began the process of bottling that cider I started like three challenges back. It was a moderate pain in the butt, and for some reason the pump on my centrifuge burned out halfway through, which was NOT supposed to happen and turned about a quarter of my cider cloudy with dead yeast (welcome to the PaulG household, everything with a logic board or a motor is falling apart). However, I had the distinct pleasure of getting to taste it after it’s aged for over two months, and it’s the best it’s ever tasted. When I tasted the juice the first time, the King David apples I used had a bright pink-red skin that stained the whole juice a rosy color, the kind of red I’ve only seen before in crabapple juice. And the taste... fresh out of the press, the juice tasted like those sweeter, brighter blush spots you get on some good apples.

 

Over time, the juice oxidized and browned as it always does, gaining those brown sugar notes we associate with apple juice; then, as the yeast fermented out all its sugar, the tart bite of malic acid took over, and the juice became reminiscent of Warhead candies (but, you know, alcoholic Warhead candies).

 

Now, though, that acidity has evened out. With a little sweetening added in the glass, it’s got a beautiful, mellow acidity, but the flavors it had before, that brightness from apple blush, are all back. You know you’re tasting apples that saw sun. If anything, it’s almost too easy to drink, and it makes me wish just a bit that there were a little more astringency to give it some dryness. But I have a feeling I won’t get complaints from whoever tastes it.

 

For Friday’s dinner I decided to smash toy planned meal together with the previous day’s, which I had not done. I carved up a pork chop and made yuxiang rousi, or fish-fragrant pork slivers, with celery. This dish is kind of a standby, but it’s one of my favorites. It’s basically just a stir fry over rice, but the central element of its sauce, the pickled chiles, make it taste fresh and bright.


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