Sunday, April 30, 2006

NFL Draft Thoughts

How did the Texans not trade the pick and get some value for a guy that they could have drafted with the 2, 3 or 4 pick????? Mario Williams for $54 mil and no other picks!?!??!?! Even the Saints would have traded up one to get Bush. They would have been better set to draft Bush and they trade him on draft day. So stupid. This is why the Texans are a horrible franchise.

This might be wrong to say but Marv Levy of the Bills but does the man have Alzheimers? They drafted two first rounders who were reaches at both picks. Stupid.

The Jets drafted well to juice their O-line, but I was expecting them to trade up for Bush. Heck, I've been predicting it since the season was winding down. I was sad because the Jets fans would have blown up if they had picked Bush, and they had the picks to trade.

Vince Young at number 3 (Titans) will be a project, and maybe Norm Chow is the guy to fix Vince Young. He did it with Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, hold on, Jaworski on ESPN ripped Vince Young's mechanics to shreds. I don't think it will happen. Vince Young will be the sequel to Vick: great running but iffy passing skills. They did get a steal with LenDale White in the 2nd round. That was a great pick up for them. He can play the Eddie George role for Jeff Fisher. If they can develop Vince Young, in 5 years they'll have a QB hitting his prime and a power back at age 26 (not bad at all).

The Pats picked up some good pieces for the offense, but I was surprised they went with Maroney instead of DeAngelo Williams or Joseph Addai. Maroney is a Big Ten back, and Big Ten backs are usually Big Ten busts. I trust SEC RBs more because of the speed of the SEC defenses compared to the Big Ten.

I am ok with Dallas' draft picks. I wished for a free safety, and I was surprised they passed up on Ko Simpson in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. All in all, a decent draft and with last year's draft having another training camp under belt, Big D will have a young, fast D to throw at teams.

Lastly, I think with Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush sliding (Bush not sliding as much as being dissed by Houston), the two will now have chips on their shoulders to prove someone wrong. That's exactly what you want out of a big $$ prospect that you might worry about motivation. I can't wait to see the Saints first home game back in New Orleans. Whatever the line, I will wager on New Orleans defeating Atlanta that Monday night with new arrivals Bush and Brees busting up the Atlanta D.

Great Website

Back in my days at my old employer, I used to set some of these images as my desktop. This is a wonderful pardoy of those lame one word motivational cards, posters or calenders. I dislike them as anyone who is motivated by a pretty picture and a few words is a robot. My favorites are Failure, Dysfunction, Meetings, Pretension, and the most appropriate for my old employer Leaders.

Of course Stupidity is a classic, and very true of the many morons in corporate america. Peace.

Great Website

Back in my days at my old employer, I used to set some of these images as my desktop. This is a wonderful pardoy of those lame one word motivational cards, posters or calenders. I dislike them as anyone who is motivated by a pretty picture and a few words is a robot. My favorites are Failure, Dysfunction, Meetings, Pretension, and the most appropriate for my old employer Leaders.

Of course Stupidity is a classic, and very true of the many morons in corproate america. Peace.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Shoulder Workout

My absolute favorite workout at the gym is not 'pounding the pecs', 'hitting the lats' or 'hitting the rack' (I wanted to list all gym cliches), but working out my shoulders. In relation to my bodyweight and frame, I have pretty strong shoulders. Shoulders are not so intense that working them out tires your entire body, but you can make the workout intense for your 'caps'. I could just link to this page and say "do what they recommend", but that's not the point of a training article. Let's go through my intense shoulder workout and then discuss a couple of wrinkles for you to try to maximize gains.

As a warm up, I like to take a 5 lb or 2.5 lb plate in my hand and slowly do a lateral raise. I also like to rotate my shoulder with the weight in hand. Because the shoulder is a delicate joint, you should warm up the area and get blood flow before using heavy weights. After the rotating, I stretch my shoulders before hitting the presses.

1. Seated dumbbell shoulder press - 3 sets - I start by grabbing weights half of what I do for sets as a warm up. Taking 60-90 secs between sets, I push out 3 sets of 8-10 reps each. I position my hands so that the inside plate is tipped towards my shoulders and only go 3/4 of the way up. This keeps stress completely on the deltoids and does not transfer focus to the triceps. On the last set, I like to go all the way up to get the triceps involved. A key to this exercise, and all deltoid exercises, is to fight the negative and take your time bringing the weight down. Studies have shown that muscle cells are stimulated more on the negative than the positive motion of resistance training.

2. One armed dumbbell lateral raise - 3 sets - Grab a dumbbell in one hand and hold onto the back of a seat with the other. Doing this with one arm at a time prevents you from using momentum, and focuses on the shoulder muscle without rest. Like with presses, slow the negative down and fight gravity.

3. Bent over deltoid raises - 3 sets - Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, back straight, and slowly arc your arms back. Keep your arms slightly bent and try to have as strict form as possible. Keep the focus on the rear delt, and go with a light weight to make sure you follow correct form.

4. Arnold Press superset with lateral raise hold - 3 sets - This usually destroys my delts as I am tired by the time I get to this. Arnold presses are just shoulder presses but you start with the weight in front of you and twist your arms out as they go up. Use a lighter weight than your shoulder press and slowly arc the weight up and back down. It is best if you keep the arc up/down in a circular direction; don't just push the weight up and twist your arm. The slow arc will target the delts and keep resistance on them. Deltoid muscles respond best to continued resistance. After a set of Arnold presses, grab dumbbells half the weight that you use for lateral raises and do a lateral raise. At shoulder level, hold the weight there for 5 seconds. Slowly bring the weight down. This superset of Arnold presses and lateral holds should burn your shoulders out.

5. Shrugs - 3 sets - I hate shrugs, and they are boring. Still, they are the best way to develop your trapezius muscles.

If you are looking to spice up your shoulder routine try these alternative shoulder exercises:

1. Run the rack - 1 set (maybe 2) - Grab a dumbbell 5 lbs heavier than you normally use and pump out a set of 6 reps. Then immediately do the next dumbbells down in 5 lb increments. Do this for 6 sets of 6 reps. This is also known as the 6x6 routine. You can do this for either the dumbbell press or the lateral raise.I do this at the end of the workout to substitute for whichever exercise I am running the rack with (press or raise).

2. Front raise hold - Grab a 25 lb plate or more if you are a beast, and hold it shoulder height in front of you for as long as you can. This is great for finishing off a shoulder routine, as deltoid muscles love isometric exercises. You can do the same for side raises; just hold the weight out as long as you can. I do this at the end of a routine and can barely lift my arms up to drive home.

3. Upside down push ups - This requires help of a friend to hold your legs straight. Do push ups completely inverted. Try to crank out 10. They are super tough. I avoid them because of fear of dislocating my shoulder.

Be safe when lifting, but get out there and get in shape!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Surviving the Game

The bane of all Madden Nation members is the "No F-in Way Game". This is a phenomenon where a player has won so many games in a row that the computer makes it impossible for the player to beat the computer. The computer will run the gamut of tricks with kickoffs, punts, and interceptions returned for touchdowns, and have all player drives end in turnovers. These games happen often at the tail end of undefeated season runs, and encourage a player to yell at a machine. This is a game; it is meant to be fun and entertaining. The "No F-in Way Game" can be beaten. This depends on strict adherence to strategy and relaxation of the player. There are a variety of ways to defeat the "No F-in Way Game", and they rank in order of honor.

1. Relax, play your game, and be conservative with special teams
"No F-in Way Games" (NFWG) can be identified early when you suddenly lose the ability to move the ball, throw two quick INTs with a 99 rated QB, or cannot tackle the opposing running back. If the computer jumps to a one or two touchdown lead, relax. The game is long. Do not panic. DO not rush things, which only leads to bad reads and mistakes. There are plays the CPU cannot defend. Find them; memorize them. Using HB Counter in the I-form after bringing your wide out over from the strong side nets 5 yards on average. If you catch the CPU in a blitz, it will be 6 points. Do not forget that 1 minute in Madden is like 4 minutes of real playing time. Touchdown drives can be 5 plays and still only take 45 seconds in madden. Relax. Do not start gunning the ball, because you will inevitably throw an interception to the linebacker with the worst hands on their team. Avoid passes that cover long horizontal distances and short vertical distances (example: Brady to Bailey). Do not throw the ball at the goalline just so your QB rating increases or you want to break the single season record for TDs. This is about winning. The CPU will pick off goaline passes because 11 guys are stuffed in a 10 yard range. If you do come back and take a lead with time left, do not just kick the ball downfield. How often does someone say that they took the lead at the end of the game to see a kickoff or punt returned for a touchdown? Too often. They put squib kicks into Madden for a reason. Use them. Ever seen a squib kick returned for a touchdown in Madden? Me neither. For that matter, if you know it is a NFWG in the 1st quarter only squib kick for the rest of the game and punt intentionally out of bounds. Sounds stupid? It is, but you eliminate the special teams advantage the CPU has. If you do have the lead and have the ball, protect a lead in the final few minutes in Steeler football fashion (up the middle, up the middle, up the middle, punt). Milk the clock, and give the ball to the runner with the highest CAR rating. If you do not trust the computer, kneel three times and punt.

2. Identify a NFWG early and avoid it
Most NFWGs can be identified in the first two or three drives. If this is the case, save your game in the franchise and then quit the game. Get out of your franchise, pour yourself a drink and then load it again. The AI will be completely different when you reload the franchise and go right back to the spot you saved. It works every time. The computer gets tricked out of pulling a NFWG on you.

3. Anger, fear, aggression: the dark path
You've stuck it out. You're fighting toe to toe. It's the 4th quarter, and Trent Dilfer is 20-25 for 3 TDs and threading the needle. The Browns are up on you by 10. Don't just throw your controller and hit reset. Go to gameplay settings and turn all of the CPU AI down to zero. Destroy the computer with the knowledge that you did not chicken out and slam the reset button. Take delight at the sight of a total meltdown by the opposing team. Be sure to adjust your CPU AI settings after the game.

4. Desperate Times
Maybe you just hate the NFWG and can't accept the loss. Maybe you battled back, took the lead, and saw a FB dive go 50 yards for a TD. Maybe you were setting up the game winning field goal, and your running back fumbled for the first time in 2 seasons. Maybe you just don't have what it takes to be a great Madden player. Take a deep breath, lie to yourself about being a man, and hit the reset button.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Boston Marathon

Today I took a half day off from work and watched the Boston Marathon live for the first time in my life. I took some pictures which I hope to post soon on the blog. Unfortunately, my lady forgot to check the batteries and thye died before we could take pictures of the weirdos and really packed running groups. I was truly amazed by two things:

1. The speed of the lead pack. They were on 4:45 pace when we saw them, and it was amazing how quick they blew by us. They are machines more than men. Their Marathon pace was faster than most of the milers I knew in high school.

2. There was a father-son team which finished after many hours because the father was pushing his severely disabled son in the wheelchair. The father was running/pushing for 4+ hours his son. We got home and saw them finish on tv. It was their 25th race. They received the biggest applause when they passed by us and through the streets of our town. It was one of those things that hits your core.

I stand in amazement of people who run Marathons. It truly is an amazing accomplishment physically and mentally. When runners passed us, they had ran 45,000 feet... and still had 2/3rds of the race to go. There is a reason the first Marathon runner died after running the 26.2 miles.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Hyundai

My car is a 2005 Hyundai Elantra that rides very well for the short trips it takes. I cannot complain about how it rides or the gas mileage. Because I drive in the "Mad Max" roadways of Massachusetts, it is a perfect car for getting in little benders and just driving to and from work. It's fine for not having kids to protect and not really caring about 'what car I drive'. It has an outstanding warranty, which prevents me from wanting to trade it in sooner than the 5 year/60K mile mark. Besides that fact, the car is not redeeming at all and pretty lame. The countdown to getting rid fo the car has already begun and is set at T-minus 52 months.