Rumblings, Ruminations, and Retrospectives

Musings from the mind of the Beast.

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“Let Me Poop”

Ok, I just had to share this. No, I haven’t seen the movie Frozen, but I have heard bits of the main song, “Let Me Go”.

Only now, a little girl has remade it the song into an absolutely freaking hilarious version about pooping, called “Let Me Poop”. I wish I were kidding, but this is EPIC.

Have a look and try not to poop from laughing.

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SEAHAWKS!

Yes, it’s been a while since I posted. Not much to talk about lately, but I’m going to try and fix that.

As a newly-minted NFL fan, especially a fan of the DEFENDING SUPER BOWL CHAMPION Seattle Seahawks, I would totally not be doing my duty if I didn’t mention it was the opening night of pre-season Thursday night.

We face – once again – the Denver Broncos, and I look forward to posting mocking tiny horsie pictures that will definitely upset some of my Twitter followers, but it will be worth it.

I’m looking forward to being a member of the 12’s again this year, and cheering the team on to a repeat Super Bowl Championship. GO HAWKS!

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Sitting Around The Campfire, Telling Ghost Stories…

… as requested by a Twitter follower.

I used to work for the local phone company. Except, like most providers these days, they’re so much more than a “phone” company – also providing cable TV and internet services.

I worked in an arm of the company focused on I.T. and providing web hosting, email, and server hosting to end clients. We worked downtown, in an older part of the city called The Exchange District. The area is full of old buildings and some pretty nice architecture.

My job regularly required us to work a lot of overtime, as business couldn’t afford to take outages during the day. We instituted an overnight shift and that required us to be on-site, downtown, and after hours.

One of my co-workers was on the night shift, and when we came in for the day shift, he was kind of odd. He’s a hell of a nice guy, but I’ve never seen him so happy to see humans before in my life. He was sitting in his cubicle, a cricket bat (brought in as a decoration by another co-worker) at the ready.

“Cheesie (our nickname for him), what’s with the cricket bat?”

And so he told us the story.

As he was working over night, sitting in his cubicle, he wasn’t sure what was going on but as he sat there, he said he had a moment where he heard the ringing, jingling sound of metal banging together, like keys being shuffled. Except that it wasn’t like someone shaking a key chain, it was rythmic, like someone was walking with keys attached to their belt and the ring of keys was bouncing off their hip as they walked.

Ka-chink. Ka-chink. Ka-chink. Ka-chink. Ka-chink.

The sound was close at first, but then it slowly got quiter, as if the person was walking away. Only thing is, it was 2:30 in the morning and no one else was in the office.

Cheesie grabbed the cricket bat, and started walking around the office, checking to see if anyone was there, or if someone was playing tricks on him. As he was walking around, he heard the main door open and shut, and then the sound of the keys was gone. Cheesie completed his circuit of the office, but he couldn’t find anyone. Nothing was disturbed. He got to the door and checked the lobby, but no one was there. He pushed the elevator button, but it was still on our floor.

There was nobody there.

As he’s telling this story, some of us are givig him the gears, not believing him. Some of us were freaking out, and others were leaning in closer to hear more. The only possible explanation – as much as we did or didn’t want to hear it – was a ghost. Nothing else could add up. There’s no way it could have been a person playing tricks – the office is big enough that if someone was just walking around jingling keys, they would have been spotted in an instant.

But how was it possible?

Our team began a “man hunt”, looking for any way this could be explained. We started looking up local legends, as Winnipeg apparently has a history of ghosts and such.

As it turns out, there is a local legend that states the building we worked in – dating back to the late 1800’s – was a former warehouse. We knew this to be true, we saw the building as it was being renovated in prep for our group moving into the building. The upper floors were the warehouse and storage areas, while the first two floors were the retail and office areas. The legend has it that one of the employees – a man that did a lot woodworking and assembly – had died in an accident with some machinery, and that his ghost continues to walk through the building.

So then it became my turn to work the night shift. The shifts were a week long at a time. I was freaked out. I didn’t want to have a run in with a ghost. I was literally scared the entire time I was there. I had the cricket bat at my desk just in case.

Monday night, everything went well, no ghosts. Tuesday was the same. Wednesday night there was no action, but by this time, I’m super stressed, I’m not getting anything done. Not a fun time.

Thursday night comes along, and things are going well a few hours into the shift. But I’m on high alert, and at 2:00 AM I thought I heard some noises. Banging, like someone had dropped something heavy. I quickly grab the cricket bat and look aroud, but there’s nothing to see. I couldn’t find anything.

I go back to work, and a half hour later at 2:30 AM, there it is.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

I grab the cricket bat and whirl around. No one is there.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

I get up and start walking around the office, but I don’t see a thing. No one is there.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

I follow the sound to the far end of the office, but just before I get there…

THUNK.

The outside door to the lobby closes.

BUT I NEVER HEARD IT OPEN.

More banging.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

Banging.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

THERE IS NO ONE THERE.

I blow through the door and check the stairwell. Nothing. Check the elevator. It’s still on my floor, so no one has used it to go back downstairs.

THEN…

I hear what sounds like two women GIGGLING coming from the vents above me. From the VENTS. Thing is, the floor above us is not occupied. No one is there. There’s ghosts fucking playing with me!

Then, it all goes quiet. Not a peep. no banging, no keys, no doors, no giggling. Nothing.

So now I have to go back to my desk and sit there for another five and a half hours, trying not to shit myself.

I think I’ve just started believing in ghosts!

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Well, this is interesting…

… I’m sitting at home tonight, and my good buddy (you might want to read his blog) texts me and tells me that my blog (yes, the one you’re reading right now) is broken.

Ludicrous, I say to myself. Impossible.

So, I come to the site, and lo and behold, I get a “page not found” error. This is bullshit, I think. I haven’t touched it in weeks (something I’m hoping to correct with more postings) so how is it broken?

I get looking around. The site actually loads – I can see the title in my browser, but before any content is displayed, I’m redirected off to what can only be a malicious site. I reload and stop the browser from loading before it redirects – and I find somehow there’s a new post that’s been added, but it’s hidden. It also contains a malicious script that does the redirect to the new site.

So I get hunting. Hmm… I can’t see the post in the admin panel. Of course, it’s hidden. No worries, I have automatic back ups of the blog done, so I’ll restore from one right before the post was made. Well, they stopped working too. So I think… if the post is hidden, will WordPress even see it? It can’t from the Admin panel, so let me export all the posts.

Sure enough, the malicious post is nowhere to be found in the export. I go into the database manager, empty out the post table, and the site now works. It’s empty, but at least the theme comes up. Then I re-import the posts, and we’re golden!

It makes me ask though… there’s obviously an export done. There’s nothing of mine that was compromised. My username/password is ok – there’s nothing in the logs to show it’s been used. So how did they do a database injection without it? I have no idea. Someone out there is good. Very good.

But if they’re so smart, why are they trying to hack a blog that hasn’t been updated in a few months, and the amount of traffic they’d get redirected to their site is minimal? Not so brilliant – not that they’re going to gain anything out of it. All that effort for nothing.

Well, I guess they got me to waste an hour and a half on it. At least I have a TV in here now and there’s a decent movie on. ;)

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Zombie Apocalypse Update

Well, this is odd.

A while back, I wrote about how Zombies were invading my dreams and turning my treasured sleepy time into a twisted version of The Walking Dead. I was having a recurring – yet serial and ongoing, like a TV drama – dream about being chased by zombies.

I never did figure out why I started having them or why they were recurring. I didn’t think I was particularly scared of zombies. I had no other reason to dream about them. Maybe it was some other problem manifesting itself in that fashion.

Well, whatever it was, since I wrote that last blog post the dreams have stopped. I actually have gone to sleep at night hoping they come back so I can figure it all out – or at least just see what the hell happens next, but they’ve just plain stopped. No rhyme or reason, they’re just gone.

I wonder if you’re all as disappointed as I am.

Anyway, just thought I’d update you as a few of you have been asking. Maybe once The Walking Dead comes back on TV it’ll pick up again. ;)

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The Iron Sheik: Iranian Legend

Anyone that knows me know that I’ve been a pro wrestling fan for as long back as I remember. I did a story for A1-Wrestling.com on the Iron Sheik, one of the legends of the business.

Check it out here: http://www.a1-wrestling.com/blog/2013/07/17/the-iranian-legend-iron-sheik/

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Random Thoughts: June 18 2013

As is custom, especially around offices, in the morning we always tend to greet each other with the time-tested phrase “good morning”. Sometimes “good day”, maybe even “g’day”, but usually it’s “good morning”. It might even be shortened to “morning”.

Every time I hear “good morning” or “morning” used as a greeting, I’m magically transported to one of the absolute greatest skits of all time: Monty Python’s “Spam” skit.

It starts off just as you or I might greet each other: two people sitting down in a cafe to order breakfast, and they say “morning” to greet each other. Absolutely hilarious!

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Totally Random Thought

So, I saw this on Twitter…

And, being a relatively healthy adult male, that immediately put my mind into the gutter. Does anyone reading this watch Storage Wars? I know he’s fired now, but there are this many variations of crying out “yes” during sex, what does Dave Hester do?

Dave’s lady: Yes! Yes! Oh yes!

Dave: YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!!

You’re welcome, dear readers.

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Setting and Hitting Goals: Thinking “Micro”

I’ll preface this by coming clean: I am (obviously :p) not a fitness expert. I’ve battled the ups and downs of trying to get into better shape and I continue to do so. I write this not from an expert point of view, but this is something learned through experience.

But whether you’re an expert or not, one thing that is driven home by any kind of coach, instructor, or trainer is to set goals. This is very important; we all need something to strive towards, to help us see results, and to motivate us to keep it up.

Another thing that is stressed is that while we need to not only set goals, we need to set honest, achievable goals. We can’t reach too high too soon – that is an easy recipe for disaster. At the start we’re motivated, but if we don’t see immediate results it’s far too easy to lose that motivation. If your goal is to lose 40 pounds, that’s great. That can be your end goal, sure, but we need to set smaller goals on the road to the bigger goal and hit THOSE goals.

All too often, people on their first day show up at the gym or their first class and they’re pumped. “I’M GONNA LOSE 40 POUNDS!” And after the first week, they’ve lost two pounds and rather than celebrate the small goal and strive to do better, the result is “I did all that work and I only lost two pounds?” The motivation goes away and they fall right back off the rails.

So, here’s the point of this post. We get it: we need to set small goals. Instead of shooting for one large goal of losing 40 pounds, we start setting smaller, more achievable goals of 2-3 pounds per week. When you hit them, they provide a great sense of satisfaction and the motivation stays up to continue on. You’ll eventually get to 40 for sure!

That’s fine, but what if we take that way further?

A switch went off for me last week as far as pushing myself to ensure I give it my all in a workout. There are small goals, but there are also *micro* goals.

Over the last year and a half I’ve been pretty hampered by a nasty back injury. There are days where it’s hard to even stand for 10 minutes, let alone get through a punishing hour-long Muay Thai class, so since January of this year I’ve been using the rowing machine as a low-impact way to get a workout in, and then practice some combinations and techniques on the heavy bag when I get a chance.

I do a 6-10 minute warm up, depending on how I’m feeling that day and how much I need to loosen up, but my main workout is 20 minutes of really hard rowing. In that 20 minutes, I track how many metres I can go. When I started, I was hitting 3200-3300 metres, and I’ve been slowly ramping up. Now, my goal is to hit 4000 metres in 20 minutes.

I have to be honest, some days, it’s really hard to get through, just as it is in a kickboxing workout. Some days I don’t think I can do it, but then that switch went off. Instead of saying “I have to row 4000 metres!!”, I started setting “micro” goals. One thing I focus on is I don’t watch the clock. I’m never going “Oh man I have 4 more minutes to go! Crap!” I’m locked onto the metre counter. This way, I’m not focused on watching the clock, but instead I’m watching the counter rise – with every pull I’m going farther and this in itself is motivating. I do use the clock, but I use it in my micro-goals as below.

  • In 5 minutes, I need to go 1000 metres
  • In 1 minute, I need to go 200 metres
  • In 30 seconds, I need to go 100 metres

So, I lock onto the metre counter and start rowing. When 100 metres approaches, I glance at the clock to ensure I’m at 30 seconds or less. At 200 metres, I look up to ensure I’m at 1 minute or less. Every 100 metres I’m checking to make sure I’m on my time target. If I’m not there I’m pushing myself to go even harder the next 30 seconds and keep it up.

I’m making 10 checks in that 5 minutes, and you’d be surprised how fast it goes when it’s done that way. As 1000 metres approaches, I again look at the time. I’d better be at the 5 minute mark or better, and if I’m under (lately I’m hitting it around the 4:50 – 4:54 mark) then I’m *instantly* screaming at myself in my mind to push real hard and see how far over the 1000 mark I can go in that last 10 seconds or less. After 5 minutes, I take a quick breather and water break, document how far I went, and then do that all over again 3 more times.

Since I started setting these micro goals at the start of May, my distance traveled has gone up from 3800 – 3900 metres to over 4100 metres (I hit 4140 today). I noticed that at the start I was hitting the 200 metre mark at 1:03 or 1:04 instead of 1:00. But I kept improving. Now I can hit it around 0:56. I figure if I can keep this up all week, then my target will go up to 4200 or 4300 metres, I’ll recalculate and reset my targets for next week and push to get there.

So how does this translate to an actual kickboxing class?

  • When you’re at the end of a round of combinations and the instructor calls to punch out for the last 10 seconds, count your punches. If you can do 40 punches in that 10 seconds, then push for a few more the next time. When you hit 45, push for 50. Keep going!
  • While doing 10’s for 3 minutes and you find you can get up to level 6, don’t make level 10 your immediate goal. Instead, push to add a few more kicks every time. Then you might get to level 6 and then 3 more kicks. Push then to get to level 7 next time. Then level 7 and a few more kicks. Then level 8. Eventually you WILL make it! It will just happen!
  • You’re called to do 100 round kicks and you get 5 minutes. To make the goal you need to throw 20 kicks per minute. 10 kicks per 30 seconds. Do the exercise and work with your partner to count your kicks. Let’s say you make 50 of the 100 kicks – you’re doing 5 kicks per 30 seconds. Next time you do the exercise, throw 5 kicks and glance at the clock to see if you’ve made that 30 second target. Did you? Excellent – now push for 6! Once you start throwing 6 kicks every 30 seconds, push for 7 – you will eventually get there!

There’s many applications for this in a kickboxing class, or any sustained activity. The point is to establish a pace. Measure what you can do in that pace, and then push to improve that pace. Pretty soon that 4000 metres becomes 4300 and those 50 kicks becomes 65.

You will hit those small goals and incrementally work your way up to the next small goal. And the next one. You’ll hit that one and move even higher. Continually improve!

This method may not work for everyone but it seems to be for me. Hopefully it might help someone else out there!

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Walking A Mile…

First of all, apologies for not blogging so much lately. There’s been a ton of stuff going on, both personally and professionally, and I’ve found myself busy/exhausted/stressed/not caring/excited and running the gamut of emotions that goes along with all of that.

But, I think we’re back on solid ground here so I’m going to attempt to get this thing back on track. I suppose I’m well overdue with this particular entry.

On January 16th a good friend and co-worker, Ron Peterson, tragically passed away after suffering a brain anuerysm while exercising. At the time, I was on the Web team where I’d been for nearly 7 years. Ron was Team Lead of the Intel team, but prior to that he was actually my leader as he used to lead the Web team as well.

He and I got along really well; we both thought the same way about the workings of things, had a lot of the same ideas, we vented to each other, and Ron was a very big supporter of mine with management. He was always pulling me aside and asking/giving advice, talking about future plans, and ensuring I was doing what I needed to be doing to be in the good books with management and in line for promotions, etc. He was like my big brother around the office, always looking out for me.

Ron made me the Technical Lead for the Web team. That meant I got to do a lot more work for no more pay, but it introduced me to leadership where he taught me everything I know now about being a leader. He gave me the freedom to get things done on that team as I saw fit. Ron gave me the confidence to become a leader, backed me up when I was right and corrected me when I was wrong – yet supported me at the same time.

Ron’s passing left a huge hole on the Intel team without his leadership – shoes that no one could ever expect to fill, because Ron was, well… Ron. You can’t replace him. Ever. Besides his leadership and technical knowledge, Ron was a funny guy, fiercely loyal, and ever-omnipresent. Even though he sat almost all the way across the room, he’d call you on the phone and you could hear him both through the headset and in real-time over the air – Ron was always in stereo. He loved hanging out with his team, telling stories, and having a good time – even though he was a leader, he never felt above anyone else. He was a great family man and worked tirelessly for charitable organzizations.

I could go on and on about him, but suffice to say Ron was an excellent leader and an amazing human being. We all miss him very much.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be selected as Ron’s successor (again, never a replacement) to lead the Intel team. I write this blog post because I find it to be an incredible and amazing circle of fate that after all Ron did for me, I now sit at his desk, in his role, doing his work, and leading his team. It’s exactly what he would have wanted.

I just wish he was here to see it.