Archive for May, 2007

I have recently accepted an offer to write an entry for a new encyclopedia series written for undergraduates on the Early American Republic.  But before I write this, I am kind of curious what average folks (my readers) think.

What do you know about slave patrols?  I don’t care if your read it, heard it, or are simply making a wild guess.  Post a comment about what you think slave patrols were, who served in them, etc.

Thanks for your help.

In response to a post wherein I stated that I was going to perform five kinds of push-ups, someone commented, “I didn’t know there were five kinds of push-ups.”

Well, there are indeed five (and actually lots more) versions of the classic push-up.  In the video below a personal trainer performs NINETEEN types of push-ups you can perform without any extra equipment.

But there are more…


Woke up this morning weighing 170.4 lbs.  So close to my goal for this week of 169.  Looking in the mirror I am almost amazed by what I see.  I can recognize in that image a much healthier, skinnier, better toned, more energetic man. 

The odd part is that yesterday I spent the day used car shopping.  I didn’t have a chance to workout.  Yet I still showed a big drop from the previous day.  Maybe something about shoveling all those rocks set my metabolism into high gear for two or so days.  I am thinking I need to shovel more rock or build more planters.  Luckily the former is free, I doubt I have enough money to do the latter again anytime soon.

Well, despite the frustration of using a cordless circular saw, I got a bit done on my chin-up/dip bar project. Here are the first two steps I was able to complete

Step 1:

Secure two 8 foot long 4X4’s. Cost at Home Depot $12.


Save yourself some time and let the guys at Home Depot cut them into two equal (four foot) pieces.

Step 2: Notch the ends of each board so that each can interlock together in a square shape


That’s where I stopped.  Not because I was tired but because the battery on the cordless saw works for about ten minutes and then takes 4 hours of recharging.  So this will be slow and steady over the next few weeks finishing up notching the wood.

Step 3: Coming soon.

Well today was yet another long day of yard work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here is the evidence of a long day spent at work. Not to mention some building projects that even a guy like me- with two left thumbs- can complete.

Entertainment: This was based on a circular I got at Home Depot. This is a pretty neat ring toss. You can make everything from the rings to the wood posts for less than $25 bucks.


The posts are just 4X4’s cut into 1 foot, 1.5 foot, and 2 foot lengths. Drill two holes in the bottom of each post and slide in a piece of 6 inch (or one foot) rebar. Hammer those suckers into the ground and presto.

The rings are even easier to make. Just by some clear plastic or vinyl tubing, fill the tubing with sand, and secure the ends together (forming a circle) with colored electrical tape. Home Depot sells multi-colored packs of electrical tape for about $2.50.

Total Time Invested: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes.

Beautification: Okay, I decided to try my hand at making a see through planter. I bought a bunch of scrap wood from Home Depot for about $12 bucks and some L-brackets and screws (about $4 bucks).


It is my first try. It still needs to be sanded down and treated for the outdoors. Otherwise, not bad for a first try with throw away wood scraps.

Total Time Invested: 2 Hours

Grunt Labor: Nothing pretty about this one. I hauled about 25 wheel barrels full of gravel from one side of the yard to the other. Boring, hard, and heavy work.

Gravel Pit

That section you see- the area covered by sand and dirt- was covered in gravel 4 to 6 inches deep. I moved ALL of that. My back and shoulders (not to mention core) are all well worked out from the twisting while shoveling and the wheel barrel hauling.

Total Time Invested: 3 hours

Beautification: We have given up on our water fountain. First of all it has a crack in it, and second it is ridiculously expensive to run. So we decided to just fill it up with top soil and grow some annual and bulbs in there.

Fountain planter

And that isn’t tall grass in front of it, those are wild flowers.

Total Time Invested: 35 Minutes

Well, you might be asking what the big surprise is at this point. Wait no longer. After a full days work and plenty of hydration (not to mention ample meals and snacks) I stepped on the scale to discover that I weighed 169.8lbs. Sweet!


Ah, the joys of a good morning shake.  For mine I like to use 1/2 cup of low-calorie yogurt, 1/2 cup 1% milk, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup frozen blackberries, and one banana, 1/4 whole (cooked) oats.   These kind of shakes are always tasty, refreshing, and full of nutrients and vitamins.

It is the kind of drink I need to get myself moving in the morning.  The simple (and natural) sugars give the mind a good push-start, while the protein from the yogurt and milk are great fuel for the ol’ muscles.  Lastly, the oats provide good complex carbs for long term energy production.

Now for the meal plan


172.6 lbs- farewell 174 plateau.  Triple Boo-Yah! 

More to come (later)