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Below are the 18 most recent journal entries recorded in mrslk's LiveJournal:

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
11:15 pm
Free IQ Test Score
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Saturday, November 24th, 2007
10:48 pm
Post UT game comments (UK football)
Earlier this evening I returned home from the Kentucky-Tennessee football played at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. This annual affair has been a victory for the UT Volunteers every year since 1984, and despite high hopes for breaking that wretched streak, it was not to be. What it was, was a classic game - 4 overtimes, almost 5 hours in biting cold, the UK Wildcats coming back from down 24-7 to tie the game 31-31 in regulation, UT blocking a 35 yard field goal attempt in the 2nd OT to stay alive, and UK QB Andre Woodson being run down on the 2-point conversion attempt to send the game into a 5th OT.

I've been on a huge high, despite my team being on the losing end, just starting to come down a bit. I'm pissed. I wanted to tell the UT fans (besides the abundance of orange in the visitor section, it speckled the rest of the stadium) to f*** off and go home as we made the winning score or defensive stop... alas. (Not that they were bad fans, I've seen far worse. I'm from K-Town myself many decades ago, but luckily born into a family of Wildcats fans.

I want to vent, about the season, the coaching, the future ... not all bad, in fact there's much good to be said anytime UK football has 2 winning seasons and 2 bowl games in a row (we presume they will get an invite); but the what might have beens (from 6-1 and ranked #8 in the nation and top 10 in the BCS standings to finishing 7-5) are upsetting.

All I have time to say now is that I never called for the coach's (or coaches') head in the depths of despair, of 2 and 3 win seasons, of losing to Ohio (that's Bobcats not OSU Buckeyes) because I knew the situation UK faced, also I saw Coach Brooks' background for what it was really worth, not the knee jerk reaction of simply looking at and dismissing his career accomplishments like many did. Most of all, I supported keeping Brooks for the duration of his contract because it is the honorable thing to do. Too many people chant the "it's a business" mantra and want the coach fired if things aren't going as they desire. It's a questionable policy in real business (the athletic dept. may be compelled to operate as a business, the sports teams should be shielded from that as much as possible), and even more so in collegiate sports. Maybe if we had a great program, no NCAA troubles overshadowing everything, consecutive years of winning records and bowl games ... I could tolerate saying "you've got 5 years, but keep winning or we'll pay you a severance package and send you packing." Not in UK's position when Guy Morriss headed to Waco, TX and the Baylor Bears (which said program recently game Mr. Morriss the ax)

But I also never drank the koolaid that Brooks (and this staff to an extent) were championship caliber coaches. Not when they turned the season around last year; not when we beat Louisville (top 10 at the time) and #1 LSU this season. I could see it after the South Carolina game. Thought maybe I was wrong after the high water mark vs. LSU; but I wasn't. A good year by UK standards, good by almost anyone's - competitive in every game but one (Mississippi State); but could've been so much more. Long ago (relatively speaking) I took time to really look at Brooks' record at Oregon (and the NFL, but to a far lesser extent, I just don't think it matters to the college game) and what the Ducks fans had to say; so while I knew he was far from as bad a coach as his many critics wanted to shout, I also had reason to tell myself... this is a solid coach, respected by his peers for good reason, but no Paterno, Bowden, Osborne, (in their heyday) etc etc.

Maybe I'm being too harsh on Coach RB and his staff. Injuries were a huge factor. But some of the lack of preparation and questionable play calling left me scratching my head; and I think I'm not alone in this. To their credit, the head scratching moments were probably less than in years past. Maybe they are getting better with age.

Current Mood: anxious
Monday, November 19th, 2007
5:07 pm
Two recent events revolving around my daughter (4th grader)

- She was honored last week for achieving all Distinguished on the "CATS" tests last year. This puts her in the top 10% of her peers statewide. Got a medal, certificate, shook hands with the Superintendent and won a savings bond at the awards ceremony. She no longer goes to that school, or even the same system; but was really nice to see her get that honor and we were thrilled to come back for the awards ceremony.

It was interesting, to put it kindly, to see the disparity in award winners from the different local schools. DD's old school had 30, some had quite a bit more than that, some had only 2 or 3. Quick rant on education: it's the parents. Find me a school with high test scores and academic achievement and more likely than not the parents are high academic achievers or - at least - place a high value on a good education.

- The other event, DD has a boyfriend. She is quite giddy with 4th grade romance. We hear they exchanged pecks on the cheek when the lunchroom monitors weren't looking. OK, seriously, I'm freaked out ... I know this is just the start, putting the brakes on for awhile ... like 9 more years. I can't imagine when little brother gets older. He's already a 6 year old chick magnet.
1:10 am
Right before my eyes
Recently I learned that someone from one of my circles of college acquaintances is on death row for a triple murder. The killings happened in the early 90's and he was a suspect, but not charged until about 3-4 years ago. He shot this girl's mom, dad and brother so that she could collect the life insurance and inheritance. She plead guilty to conspiracy, and will be eligible for parole... in about 60 years.

This is someone I went to parties with, hung out and talked to, but the thing that gets me now is that I saw the photo (OK, a really bad mugshot) in the news, knew the name was familiar, but didn't put it together until my wife found an online group of people from our university days, including Mr. Murder's ex-wife (not the conspirator in the killings, although she was married to him when it happened). He was sort of the black helicopter type, claimed to be ex-Special Forces (I don't think so), but hard to wrap myself around the idea that he did this?

Current Mood: weird
Sunday, November 18th, 2007
10:51 pm
Writer's Block: A Tip About Tipping
What's your method for calculating a tip?

For decent service at a full service restaurant: 20% plus round the total up to the nearest whole dollar amount.

Current Mood: awake
Monday, April 9th, 2007
12:16 am
Alphabet City
I got in late last night from NYC, visiting my brother (and his wife and my niece), at their place in the Lower East Side. Clinton St. is the extension of Ave B south of Houston. Now I find out how much history his street and neighborhood has ... Tompkins Square Park is a notorious site of protests and riots from the 1870's to the 1980's, once taken over by homeless, anarchists, drug dealers, and punk rockers it's now where his daughter plays. The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix played Tompkins Square. Across the street, the Charlie Parker house. Down the road, on one side was the venue where G.G. Allin played his last show, across the steet where Allin OD'd. Chasam Sopher, oldest synagogue in Manhattan still operating as a house of worship. The Horseshoe Bar - scene in movies from Godfather II to Crocodile Dundee.

I also visited a HS classmate at Tom's close Columbia U. The Cloisters, after wandering around in cold rain in Ft. Tryon Park. Took in a Knicks game with my brother and some friends of his, later in the week a Yankees game. MoMA. The auto show at the Javits center. Central Park. Drinks at the Whiskey Bar. Grand Central Terminal. Ground Zero. Wall Street. And made an accidental detour across the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn.

I'm not sure I could live there fulltime (money no object), but I could definitely make a go of Manhattan.

Lately pulled out my CD of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (I had the LP at one time, not sure where it went. Also had a copy of the notorious HR Giger poster that Jello signed personally, that I gave to a kid I knew liked DK) ... Kill the Poor, Chemical Warfare, California Uber Alles, Holiday in Cambodia. Classic 80's Bay Area thrash.

Current Mood: awake
Monday, April 2nd, 2007
12:18 am
The World Opens Up
Recently I passed two milestones: I celebrated the big 4-0 (in a thread on forgetting one's age I commented that there is something about being 40 that doesn't allow you to forget); and I obtained a passport.

The primary trigger was the cruise MrsSLK and I will be sailing on in June; but it's something I've "meant" to do for some time. With the tightening of travel restrictions, even to Canada and Mexico, it wasn't a bad idea to go ahead and get it, regardless of immediate plans. For the same reason, we are getting them for the kids.

We paid extra to fast-track the process and make sure our passports were in hand before the cruise; were told it would still be up to 4 weeks due to the backlog of applications (many people trying to get them before the restrictions get even tougher next year). Yesterday, express mail delivery, two U.S. passports. 11 days. Kudos to the State Dept. (I think that's the right agency).

Now I feel like the world has opened up. I've got this passport in hand, and I can hop on a plane and go ... well not quite anywhere, some countries don't welcome Americans (either by law, or de facto), and some have quite a bit of bureaucratic hassle to get a visa, but there are plenty of foreign destinations where all an American needs to visit is a roundtrip ticket, money in your pocket, and a passport. That's pretty cool.

Current Mood: cheerful
Tuesday, February 6th, 2007
9:17 pm
Chase #@$&
Not long ago, due to my new business not generating quite enough income to support us, and some major personal and legal issues we faced, we were going into quite a bit of debt on credit cards. We got an offer from one of our cards: Chase Visa to transfer all of our balances to their card for a "lifetime" 3.9% interest rate. We did this, and were making progress paying this off.

Last month I screwed up. I always pay online and I forgot. I was 5 days late. You know what Chase did to us for being late one time, by less than a week? Canceled our "lifetime" 3.9% rate and raised our interest rate to 27.45% (yes, their fine print says they can do this. Does that make it right?) Ouch. I'm looking around for a way to pay it off fast ... borrow from family, transfer to another card, I'd prefer to pay it off with discliplined monthly payments, and not go those routes, but at this interest rate it makes sense to do almost anything legal to get it zeroed out ... then cancel their card and tell them where to stick it.
11:27 am
I'm stoked (fitness journal update)
I'm hovering around 169# and 19% this week. It didn't help that my Dad came back to town after being away for a month and took us out to Cheddars for dinner ... I just couldn't turn down that steak and shrimp. It didn't get me too bad, and I hit the elliptical, arc trainer, and weights pretty hard this morning.

So the good news. At the gym, this guy asked me to spot him on the bench press. That was a bit of an ego boost, that someone would think I was strong enough to trust for that. Then back home, after I showered, I asked Mrs.SLK to take new measurements. My waist has dropped from 36 1/2" to 34 1/4" ... that's much better improvement than I had thought. Definitely going to need a belt now

Thursday, February 1st, 2007
8:30 am
Fitness Journal - more
Along with joining a gym, MrsSLK showed me a weight chart she made on the computer. Starting just after the New Year, I began charting my weight and BF% each morning*, and averaging at the end of each week.

The tale of the tape is that from the 1st week in January I've dropped my weight from a bit over 175 Lbs to right at 169 Lbs, and BF% from 21% to 19%. My waistline, alas, doesn't seem to have shrunk noticeably. Measure that much less frequently, and maybe not as consistently. Possibly I've cut a 1/2".

I have a concern that I've restricted calories too much ... when I charted I was averaging under 1800/day (plus the hour or so of vigorous exercise), and could be putting my body in starvation mode, or at least causing it to keep storing fat around my middle. Someone has suggested boosting my protein intake to 30% of calories (I'm at 15% right now) and add some amino acids right before lifting. I need to start charting again for a few days, but am going to try an increase to 25% protein (30% just seems too high for me) and up my calories to 2100 and see if it has a positive effect (continue steady weight loss but reduce lean mass loss). Is this just plain wrong? A calorie is a calorie.

I'm not likely to hit my 15% BF goal at 165 Lbs. I think I can make the weight in a 2-3 more weeks, but will do well to drop to 18% BF. I'll be very happy with any number under 18. Will I try to hold at 165#? Not necessarily. I'd be happy at 170, even 175 if I can keep my fat and waistline under control.

* I know some people strongly advocate only weighing once a week. I like to see my progress or slippage every day. Some research suggests that people who chart daily are ones who keep the weight off successfully. A bad day - maybe going out to eat and going up a little one day - doesn't discourage me; and a big loss doesn't make me feel like I can slack off (it's probably mostly water anyway). I also sometimes check my weight before and after working out. Like many newbies at first I was proud if I lost (sweated off) 2 or 3+ Lbs in my workout. Now I try to keep the loss to 1 Lb ... by doing a better job rehydrating while I exercise.
1:24 am
Another boring fitness journal
Here's the skinny on yours truly, and my current obsession with diet and exercise: Over the Thanksgiving holiday last November, I decided my weight was creeping up, and my belly expanding. Of course a holiday so centered on large family gatherings with tons of yummy food may not be the best time to suddenly decide one needs to get in shape; or perhaps it is.

The vital stats: I'm about 6 weeks from the big 4-0. I'm 6' (1.82m) tall (in socks and shoes). Back on Turkey Day my weight was up around 178 Lbs (81Kg). Now that in itself - 24 BMI - isn't so bad, I've been over 180 in my life and wasn't bothered by it, but my body fat had gone over 22%* and my waistline was expanding.

I set a few goals: drop to 165 Lbs (close enough to my old college weight), cut my body fat to 15%, and cut my waistline to 35" or less. I started with some minor diet changes, cutting some stuff out, increasing my consumption of fruits and vegetables; and some home exercise - push-ups, sit-ups / crunches - each night before bed, later getting out some of my weights from the back corner of the garage.

Christmas wiped much of the small improvements I'd made, but the damage wasn't too bad. My wife was a little suspicious at first, of my new fitness drive; but then MrsSLK came up with a suggestion: there's a large church near my office which has a recreation center that is open to the public and has a modest, but decently equipped, gym ... cardio trainers, weights (free and machine), track, basketball court) all for a very reasonable annual charge. The whole year costs me less than 1/2 of what I used to pay every month at the Y. (The Y is awesome, far larger and better equipped and staffed, but I hardly used it). I joined, took my dear wife to visit, and she joined, too. Now, both of us work out there 5 or 6 days a week.

I watch what I eat, sometimes charting to see how many calories and what balance of fat, carbs, and protein. My workout: M-F (and Sat. if I can schedule it): 20-25 min of cardio, rotating between work on the treadmill, bike, elliptical trainer, and arc trainer. Four days a week I hit the weights. Mostly machines, because I have no partner/spotter - MrsSLK does cardio next to me, but heads for the walking track when done. Monday: chest/triceps, Tuesday: back/biceps, Wednesday - off, cardio only, Thursday: shoulders, Friday: legs. Also throw in some ab work. I lift 10 at a warmup weight, and then try to set the weight to where I can do 6 reps almost to the point of failure (a spotter so I could go all the way, or even do some negative work, would be nice... gotta talk the wife into lifting with me). Then I move to the next machine in my circuit. By the time I get to the end, I'm basically spent, and barely have strength to lift anything ... but recover fairly quickly. I join the spouse on the track to cool down with some walking (she does 2 miles, I do a 1/2 mi. - maybe), and some stretching.

It's late and way past time to hit the bed; so later I'll discuss my progress (it's coming along steadily) and concerns.

* BIA (bioelectrical impedience) bodyfat measurements (a la my digital bathroom scale) are not known for being super reliable. They are heavily dependent on hydration level (they calculate body fat from how long it takes an electric current to go through your body, more water = more conductive, more water = more muscle and less fat). But I weigh at the same time each morning, and try to keep my hydration in balance. The actual numbers may be off, but the main thing is to show steady improvement.

Current Mood: awake
Monday, December 18th, 2006
4:21 pm
Sorry for leaving such a whiny ass post this morning.
Thursday, November 2nd, 2006
7:12 pm
A. That movie where those kids...
...sneak out and wander around.

Q. What is: my 4 year old son's description of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Current Mood: amused
Monday, September 11th, 2006
10:29 am
Just found out the person ...
I consider a big part of saving my marriage last year is getting divorced. My attorney was waiting for me to deliver the papers to file, and everyone around me was supportive of - even advocating for - my decision; when this person talked to me, convinced me to slow down, give things just 1 more week, listen to some other voices and see if we could make things work. I recently talked to this person, for the first time in almost a year, and found out this news.

Everyone's situation is different; but I couldn't help but be shocked and
dimayed. I wish them the best of luck during this hard time.

Current Mood: cold
10:02 am
How many millions of bloggers...
Are reflecting on the events of 5 years ago, today.

This morning I opened my browser to the question: where were you?

Like our parents and grandparents memories of that morning of Dec. 7, or that day in Dallas in 1963, and my own of T + 74 seconds*, Sept 11 2001 is one of those days we'll always remember exactly where we were, and what we were doing.

I was pulling into work, when my wife called on the cellphone to tell me that a plane had hit one of the WTC towers. Still unclear on the facts or enormity of the unfolding tragedy, she said maybe it was a small private plane. I headed up the steps to the lobby and up the elevator to sign in - stepping off just as the 2nd plane hit. Of course TVs were on to the coverage, and even people who weren't gathered around were watching on-line.

One of my first concerns was for my brother, an attorney working in Manhattan. Although his office and his route in from Queens wouldn't take him close to the WTC, I still worried. I thought, 'you never know, what if he had a meeting with a client down there or something!' I got on the phone and called his office. Luckily, somehow, I got through; and was told the whole building had been shut down and workers were being sent home, and that my brother wasn't due in to work yet anyway - but would've been on the train coming in at that time. Not long after, the phone circuits were overwhelmed, and we didn't hear from him until that evening. Later, after things settled down, he wrote a detailed account of his day which I printed and kept on my office door for a year, to share with my co-workers.

* for those too young, and forgetting their history: Dec 7, 1941 - "A Day That Will Live in Infamy" - date of attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - precipitated American entry into World War II. November 22, 1963 - day President John F. Kennedy was assasinated. January 28, 1986 - day Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds after take-off.

Current Mood: contemplative
Thursday, August 31st, 2006
1:57 pm
I'm not a strongly religious person, but what prayers I can offer go out for those lost in the crash at LEX Sunday morning and their loved ones. Also for the first officer - and sole survivor - to make a recovery from his injuries.

It's been interesting to see Lexington get such worldwide media coverage, yet so disturbing that it had to be for something like this.

I count myself lucky that no one I knew personally was on-board; but several people I know lost family members, friends, and neighbors.

Now here's the really perverse thing: Obtaining my pilot's license has been on my life to-do list since I was a young kid (back to before I realized that I'd never fly for a living with my -8.5 visual correction); but down in the wishful thinking, if/when I have the money, time and spousal support part of the to-do list. The perversity is that this tragedy actually spurs my interest. Maybe it's just a shout in the face of fate.

Current Mood: contemplative
1:23 pm
New Davites
The wife and I recently started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at church in Lexington. We're two sessions in (of 13) and trying to stay on top of things and get our first zero-based budget worked out before ... tomorrow. Our primary income is mine, from self-employment, so the irregular income budget is the one we're using. Our biggest problem long-term is that we tend to go into debt and then I make some big commissions, pay it off, but go right back in the hole. Family and legal problems last year, and a slow down in business more recently, didn't help. At least the business - keep my fingers crossed - is looking up, stronger than ever right now.

I am trying to wrap myself around, and come to terms with, some of Dave's teachings. I never use debt in my main business - Dave would be proud - but I have mortgaged to buy rental property ... and done well with it.
Dave went bust in the 80's buying and trying to flip foreclosure real estate financed with short term notes. I like to think my more conservative approach is suitable; but the downside is pretty disastrous if the market sours. That's obviously his point.

He also is very big on cash - I'm sure you keep a much tighter watch on the money when paying in cash rather than cards or checks; but carrying around envelopes of cash makes me uneasy.

The key now is to stick with it and have the discipline to make it work.

Current Mood: discontent
Saturday, July 29th, 2006
9:46 pm
The subject of nightmares, and our ability - or inability - to remember same, came up recently on the LJ of my friend, Soopageek. For whatever dull reason, I am prompted to share (making my first ever entry to my own Journal in the process) a recent waking nightmare.

I was in a scenario best described as Orwell's classic, Ninety Eighty-Four, but set as a black-white (I can't remember the actors, but early 21st century current) buddy movie, with a "Deer Hunter" era Meryl Streep playing Julia (apropos). The three - attempting to resist the totalitarian state, while also fully aware of their futility - were, in the end, being hunted down by a faceless, implacable assassin. Stalking our protagonists in a columned arcade, the killer cornered Julia/Meryl, placed the barrel of his pistol to her head, and ... I woke.

Current Mood: awake
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