Tuesday, January 31, 2006

the physical genius

Check out this compelling article on physical genius.

What do Wayne Gretzky, Yo-Yo Ma, and a brain surgeon named Charlie Wilson have in common?

A choice excerpt:

If you think of physical genius as a pyramid, with, at the bottom, the raw components of coordination, and, above that, the practice that perfects those particular movements, then this faculty of imagination is the top layer.

Another choice excerpt:

Michael Jordan and Karl Malone, his longtime rival, did not differ so much in their athletic ability or in how obsessively they practiced. The difference between them is that Jordan could always generate a million different scenarios by which his team could win, some of which were chunks stored in long-term memory, others of which were flights of fancy that came to him, figuratively and literally, in midair.

Bodyweight Conditioning progress and questions from an adventure racer (Coach Sommer?): Kettlebells, Strength, Fitness, Martial Arts

I had posted this before but lost it within my own blog... This was a post from an adventure racer to the Dragondoor forum reporting results from 3 months of following Coach Sommer's program for the planche and front lever and some questions for modifying his training program. Coach Sommer's reply is also very informative

Friday, January 27, 2006

German engineering-v-Arab technology - Google Video

Volkswagon's new Polo commercial pits a suicide bomber vs. a Polo....

Amazing use of choir for car commercial

The Honda (UK) - Civic site currently has a commercial that uses a choir and no other instrumentation for all the sound effects. Check it out!

Lindsay Mac - Singer, Songwriter, Cellist

Lindsay Mac - Singer, Songwriter, Cellist

I read about Lindsay Mac on the NAMM Oddities report. She is a singer/cellist who straps on her cello like a guitar. I like what I've heard of her songwriting so far.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Glosoli video and background

Glosoli is a very pretty song by Sigur Ros. This post to the Harmony Central forums has links to a cute video for this song, and some photos and description of the setting for the video.

"Mike51" gives you a choice between RealAudio, Windows Media, and Quicktime formats for the video.

How to make music with Electroplankton: 101 - DS Fanboy

How to make music with Electroplankton: 101 - DS Fanboy

I still have a Game Boy Color, with the Nanoloop and Little Sound DJ music-making software cartridges for it. So when I heard about Electroplankton, I became more interested in the latest incarnation of Nintendo's portable video game system.

This is the first serious article I've seen on making music with Electroplankton. No doubt I will incorporate some of the advice presented if and when I finally pick up a Nintendo DS.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Digital Television, Part 1: Making Sense of it all - Engadget

I admit it. I'm behind the times when it comes to digital television and understanding all the options and developments out there. Engadget has a nice guide for those such as myself who want to catch up.

Friday, January 13, 2006

My first Iyengar style Yoga class

If you have been reading this blog, you may be aware I'm recovering from a lower back injury originally caused by a botched deadlift attempt in April of last year. I further aggravated the injury with high-load training with kettlebells, Power Wheel, etc. before the back was truly ready.

Yoga is often recommended as a solution for low-back problems, so I started looking into it. Last night, I took an introductory class at one of the Unity Woods Yoga studios. I had tried a couple of Yoga classes here and there but this was the first that was explicitly advertised as an Iyengar style class. I have already forgotten many details, but I do remember the following:

- Child pose
- Triangle pose
- Low back/hamstring stretch with fingertips against a wall, as preparation for a forward bending pose (which was demonstrated by the instructor but not taught to us)
- Easy pose
- Hero pose
- Tree pose
- Warrior pose
- Mountain pose

We finished by wrapping straps around our thighs and lying down, face up with our legs against the wall. This was an interesting choice of finishing pose that I hadn't seen before.

I like the Iyengar approach, as represented by Unity Woods, for its emphasis on alignment and use of devices such as blocks, blankets, ropes, etc. to relieve pain and/or compensate for range-of-motion limitations. Also, their winter session classes had not yet begun whereas those of the other studio I was looking already started last week.

The most important result was my back was painless at the end of class.

So, I'll start taking the Level 1 Iyengar class next week and update my logs as needed

Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net

Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net looks like a useful online music theory reference.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Adding Spiral 'Internal' Power to the Pushup

This RMAX forum post describes the Screwing Pushup and a suggestion progression through four versions that vary in diffulty and sophistication. Some individuals have reported developing the ability to do a strict 1-arm pushup by practicing Screwing Pushups.

Screwing Pushups may undoubtedly be useful for developing power for martial arts hand strikes. I suspect the power developed by this type of movement may also be useful for sportive activities as well. I felt a bit of a load on my obliques from the Screwing Squat Pushup and anticipate even more of a load in the other variations. In any case, it may be worth practicing for the sheer challenge and enjoyment of the movement itself.

Monday, January 09, 2006

How to get a world-class breakdancer's strength, balance, and flexibility

This now-famous breakdance video clip by B-Boy Junior inspired Scott Sonnon towards a new direction in his physical training. This video as well as Sonnon's approach also inspired me to work towards similar goals.

This article by Scott covers the fundamentals of Scott's initial approach. Please note his warning that the article does not present a complete program - it is intended to be used as a starting point or template on which one can base one's own program.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

408 lbs vs. 233 lbs.

408 lbs fighter vs. 233 lbs. Fedor

Fedor Emilienko could well be the world's greatest MMA fighter in the heavyweight class. The above link is to his fight with a 408lb. fighter. It's shocking how quickly Fedor dispatches his opponent despite the obvious size disparity. Here's a pic of Fedor training:

Friday, January 06, 2006

Increasing sensitivity to high frequencies

Lately I have noticed my ears are more easily irritated by high frequencies. I started to notice this just before Christmas when I tried out my brand-new violin. When I took it to the music shop, I was advised to try Thomastik Dominant strings, as they are said to have a mellower tone. I bought the Dominants and replaced the upper 2 strings on my violin. After I did that I was not as irritated by the sound of those high A and E strings and felt fine playing along with my Aunt's church choir during their caroling sessions.

However, the sound of those two high strings began to hurt again just before New Year's Eve. Fortunately, I brought my earplugs to the all night jam session in which I participated, as the processed sounds of electric violins and amplified lap steel guitar put out plenty of high frequencies that were threatening to my ears.

Last night, even the high string of my kemancheh produced the nasty sensation in my ear that usually attends a high-frequency assault. Also, I tested the high notes of my cheap digital piano and they too irritated me. Fortunately, the viola proved to not be irritating at all to my ears.

So what to do?

The very first thing I started to do today was take a vacation from listening to music via headphones. No more iTunes, no more iPod. We are periodically warned of the dangers to our ears imposed by headphone-delivered music. I've certainly done more than my fair share. After about a few days, I'm going to see if there is any improvement in the response of my ears to my violin or kemancheh. If there isn't any, I'll have to sell them both - there is no point in torturing myself.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

john gill's website

john gill's website looks mostly dedicated to the sport of climbing, but has a lot of great info on gymnastics and historical feats of bodyweight strength.

YRG is Yoga for Regular Guys

I initially chuckled when I first heard about the Yoga for Regular Guys program by professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. After learning that professional wrestling matches are fake (in that everything is scripted out, as opposed to a real contest) and years of watching UFC and Pride fights, I find it hard to take pro wrestlers seriously.

However, I'm hearing that Page's YRG may actually be worth checking out. Lots of regular guys are turned off by yoga due to certain stereotypes we associate with it, such as new age music and chanting. Yoga recast in a more guy-friendly image might be the answer...