21
Mar
12

Stuff I’ve been thinking about lately

I’ve been meaning to write a post about the 2012 Australian GP, but I kind of can’t be arsed.  McLaren’s obviously onto something.  Red Bull are having trouble with their exhaust, which is awesome but a bit too clever for its own good.  Ferrari seem to have created an absolutely vicious car, possibly as an overreaction to the too-conservative strategies of 2010 and 2011, and I’d not be surprised if it comes down to “who the hell understands a pull-rod front suspension these days?”.  Mercedes has a damn cool combination of DRS and F-duct, probably.  Williams doesn’t look like they’re going to suck, provided that Maldonado grows a bit of maturity.  Marussia might finally beat HRT.

So far, so good.  The new Pirellis are good for the racing, and as usual for Albert Park even double DRS zones weren’t enough to make things stupid.  Give the teams a few races to learn the tires and F1 will probably get a bit more boring, as it did last year, but for now I’ll enjoy it.

——

I spend a lot of time reading, writing, and thinking about weight training — all of it in the context of self-improvement, not for any particular sport.  This has led me to get more deeply into general mobility issues, which I’m starting to work up on for similar reasons.  Given that I make a living as a programmer, why the damn hell haven’t I been putting at least as much effort into making myself a better programmer?

If strength and mobility are the foundations of physical performance (you might add endurance/conditioning on top of that, but that’s a more specific beast IMO), then theory and — for lack of a better word — cleanliness are  the foundations of programming performance.  Knowing when to use an Abstract Factory pattern is useful, but in a specific way, just like being able to sprint a five-second 40 is a specific kind of athleticism.  Having a deep understanding of graph algorithms is more akin to having a strong posterior kinetic chain — you can use the former to do anything from packet routing to mesh optimization to parse tree analysis, just as you can use the latter to do anything from deadlifts to snatches to sprints.

Probably I should start working on three InterviewStreet problems a week.  That won’t (much) help me write better-factored code, but it’ll work the theory aspect.

——

Damn but C++11 looks cool.  Yeah, I can’t believe I just wrote that either.  I dunno, you give me a language with malloc(3) and type inference and lambdas all at once and I start to get all hot and bothered.

——

Toyota built a Prius race car.  Yes, really.  They did mostly what I threatened to do here, but rather more so — well, just have a look for yourselves:

So… tube-frame chassis, tons of aero, mid-mounted V6 turbo powerplant, rear-wheel drive… yeah, that’s a priAPus all right.

And naturally it leaked gas and caught fire.

Still, it’s a pretty awesome thing.

——

Jim Wendler is the man.  Break his writing down past the trigger points that’ll get the Social Justice crowd all excited and you basically have this method for evaluating any given use of your time, money, and/or energy:

  1. Is it awesome?  Do it.
  2. No?  Is it making you awesome?  Do it.
  3. No?  Do something else and 30 GOTO 10.

(Bear in mind that, quite often, recovering from a workout — either physical or mental — is both awesome and making you awesome.)

Squat.  Sprint hills.  Prove theorems.  Write code.  Listen to metal.  Drink bourbon.  Sleep.  Repeat.  (Not necessarily in that order.)

——

Overhead squats are never the wrong thing to do, provided that you’re not going to wreck your shoulders losing the bar behind you or something.  (And if you are, you need to do overhead squats with a broomstick until you get that “packed shoulders” thing down.)

——

David Henderson is also the man.

——

I’ll have a more structured post for you in the near future.


3 Responses to “Stuff I’ve been thinking about lately”


  1. March 23, 2012 at 10:59

    I feel vaguely sorry that the only thing I have to contribute to this post is:

    Overhead squats are never the wrong thing to do, provided that you’re not going to wreck your shoulders losing the bar behind you or something. (And if you are, you need to do overhead squats with a broomstick until you get that “packed shoulders” thing down.)

    If you need to ditch the bar, and if you’re pushing it you will, the natural direction to do so had better be in front of you or else you’re doing it wrong.

    If I’ve gained any insight from learning to skate, it’s that setting things up so you limit and channel your failure cases is actually better than putting most of your effort into trying not to fail.

    • March 23, 2012 at 11:33

      If you need to ditch the bar, and if you’re pushing it you will, the natural direction to do so had better be in front of you or else you’re doing it wrong.

      I disagree pretty strongly with this. In my experience, it seems to depend a lot on which parts of your shoulder and upper back stabilizers fatigue first, as well as a whole chain of mobility issues that probably go right up from your toes to your cervical spine. (Obviously I’m using the generic “your” here.) Maybe my shoulder ROM isn’t as awesomesauce as I thought it was/it should be, but I can’t see how to keep the shoulders internally rotated enough at the bottom of an OHSQ to make damn near certain that the bar will ditch forward (as it would with a press or jerk, say).

      When I started teaching myself the Olympic lifts, I spent a lot of time doing a LOT of shoulder dislocates with a broomstick, so that if I pulled a snatch a bit too far back and lost it behind me I had the shoulder ROM to just let it fall out of my fingers. (Oddly, this has probably helped my regular squat the most, as it lets me pack my hands in on the bar and drive my elbows down.) That’s really my point here: I don’t think it’s safe to snatch a barbell if you don’t have the shoulder ROM to lose it behind you safely.

      • March 23, 2012 at 12:04

        I will cheerily admit I probably have to rethink this one; I know that for me, if the bar wants to go backwards in an OHS or even a back squat, it is the first clue before a cascade of Bad Things Happening that I have done something very wrong. My shoulder mobility is fine (certainly a lot better than it is in, say, my hips, but I am working on fixing that), but bar wanting to go forward is usually “I might have to ditch but this is probably recoverable”, but if it wants to go backward it’s usually a case of majorly lost stability overall; I can ditch the bar without damage to my shoulder girdle, but I’m probably going ass over teakettle following it in the bargain.

        Of course, I’m short, my center of gravity is very firmly in my hips, and my chest has a lot more weight up front than most dudes.


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