Archive for November, 2007

Awareness and thankfulness

November 20, 2007

I enjoy writing my thoughts in this forum.  I write them mostly for me.  But I like the fact that my friends and family can peer into my life.  But at times, the things that I have to say are far less important than what’s happening in my life and others’ lives…

Granted, I’m not trying to save the world with my blog.  But when I read the blog excerpts of the Iraqi Bloggers, I realize that talking about scallops and soap are pretty damn trivial.

Take a look at the link above.  It’s a short read, but helps you realize just what we have to be thankful for this week.

Livin’ in Long Biyatch

November 20, 2007

Min, my witty ATLien friend and ex-roommate, asked me how life is in Long Biyatch. But rather than direct my reply solely to her, I thought to share my incite on the city of Snoop…Long Beach sucks!Ok, let me be fair. There are parts that I like about it…

The beach is only a 20 minute walk from my house.Very diverse neighborhood.I’m really close to Albertson’s grocery store. One block away.There’s a very a convenient convenient store 150 feet away.There is a kind, old Italian lady from Rome who lives next door.It’s only a 30-minute drive to work with no freeways.

But here are the parts that I am not so fond of…

The beach here isn’t as nice as the beach at Hermosa.Very diverse neighborhood: those with homes/those without, sober/drunk, detoxed/still-toxed… I mean, there is a substance abuse center one block away.We are right next to a parking lot where kids come to spend their midnight hours yelling out loud and doing donuts with their cars.The little old lady from Italy lives next door. Her address is 666, so i’m a bit hesitant to get to know her…There is rarely parking so I have to park on the main thoroughfare.

I miss the South Bay. =[ But truth be told, I miss the East coast even more. =[ =[How’s the place where you live?

This is the voicemail of Mark Sessoms…

November 19, 2007

I read a blog post that clearly resonated with me. It’s about the absurd length of our greetings on our voicemails.

So I’ve changed mine.  If you call me on my cell phone and get to my voicemail message, you’ll see.  To save you the trouble, it’s exactly the same as the title of this post… extremely concise.  Why say more? You already know the drill.

Here’s the post at Cranking Widgets.

Yet another thing to add to my “Things you learn at 35” list…

So…  How many of you decided to change your greeting after reading this?? Enquiring minds want to know!

Things you learn at 35…

November 18, 2007

Among the least important of things surely sits my list of things you learn at 35 years of age. Three things I’ve happened across in the last 30 days…all totally unrelated…

1. Scallops are shellfish. Did you know that?

They are also bi-valves. And they swim, which explains why their muscle (the part we eat) is so large relative to other bivalves like clams and mussels. Interesting, eh? You can find out more on this at wikipedia here.

Also, why is it that it only seems to be in the United States that we don’t eat the whole scallop?  We eat the whole clam and mussel.  Strange…

2. What do you do with tiny soap?

There’s no sense futzing with the soap when it gets too small. You drop it too much. It breaks and you mash together the parts. Why didn’t anyone ever teach us to mash the small soap bar to a new bar of soap. Duh! I’d bet most people just throw the tiny soap away.

3. What exactly is metadata?

It’s data that describes other data. Well, that’s so damn helpful, thank you! Even wikipedia convolutes the issue.

But while I knew what it meant, I never really read a good description of what it was until reread my old database textbook from college. The easiest real world example that we are all familiar with is the card catalog at your local library. All that data describes the data in the book, like the author(s), the category, an abstract on the content, etc. Data that describes other data. Bingo!

So why is it that we don’t learn some of these things (namely the first two) way earlier in life? Why is it that we go through life never questioning where a scallop comes from? Or why is it that we never ask what other people do with the soap when it gets too small to avoid wasting it. And the metadata question, er…nevermind.

All this is to say that we should not be so complacent in our lives to lose the inquisitiveness we once had as a child. Keep asking questions! Don’t be afraid to not know just because you are say, 35 years-old and should have learned it long ago. Keep learning!

Need to chuckle today?

November 16, 2007

For the cat enthusiast in you…

The name of the website is funnier (to me) than the site.  But the site is pretty funny, too.  It gets a chuckle or two.

Steering Wheel Isometrics

November 16, 2007

Say what??? Let me do a little explaining…

I’ve been doing a lot of pushups lately, mostly because I no longer have a gym membership (by the way, I’m able to do 40 slow pushups now in one set) . So I’m looking for ways to be able to get/stay in shape with basic exercises and don’t want to adorn my household (who am I kidding? small bedroom) with a home gym or lots of dumbbells. Also, I can’t rely on all the good home fitness videos because I don’t have a TV. And besides, all the videos I do have are VHS, not DVD, so I can’t use them on my computer (looks like I’ll be doing some digital conversion-ing soon).

Anyway, while in traffic the other day, I was tugging on my steering wheel and noticed that my chest was completely flexed (oh, and massive!) So I started playing around and came up with a few exercises that will help with basic strength training on those long car commutes, or when you’re just stuck at a red light.

Maybe you haven’t heard of isometrics before. In fitness, isometrics are nothing more than static exercises where you flex a muscle, hold it in the contracted position for a few seconds, and then release. Pretty simple. Think of those morning stretches when you wake up and you stretch and your body goes rigid. Or how you clench your butt cheeks when trying to hold back #2. Those are basically isometric exercises. With isometrics, you can use your body’s own resistance, but you can also employ stationary objects in your exercises. Enter the steering wheel!

I managed to get a full upper-body workout using nothing more than my steering wheel while driving.  Here are some of the exercises and the muscle groups they worked I was able to do, all static (no movement) exercises, of course:

  • Lower, Middle, Upper Rows (Lats, Traps, Rhomboids)
  • Lateral “Raises” from upper, middle and lower parts of the wheel and sometimes crossing arm over arm (Anterior, Middle, Posterior Deltoids)
  • Presses into the wheel (Chest and Triceps)
  • Flyes from the outside middle of the wheel squeezing inward (Chest)
  • Curls from the lower area of the wheel (Biceps)
  • Press-downs from the upper area of the wheel (Triceps)
  • Twists while using the wheel for resistance (Obliques)

I was worried at first that I might break off my wheel which could obviously lead to catastrophic events.  But come on, I’m not He-Man…  But I thought even if I did manage to break off my steering wheel, I would be He-Man. And I’d have total bragging rights, assuming I lived to tell about it!I did scour the ‘net to see if I could find some other sites describing this stuff.  I did uncover some interesting sites, mostly on posture, abs and back, but not much on strength training.  There is even one lady trying to sell pilates for your daily commute, entitled “Carlates.”  Now that thar’s funny.

In no particular order, here are some of the websites I saw about car exercising…

Let me know if this stuff works for you!

Today Was a Good Day…

November 13, 2007

Like Ice Cube used to say…

I started my morning with a good interview to a good place to work, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). My goal was to get a face-to-face interview and I pulled it off.

Secondly, I spoke to a lady next door to my abode who keeps a beautiful front yard. I told her how I was impressed at her landscaping abilities and that it reminded me of my mother’s yard. Turns out, the lady was from Rome, so I made a new Italian friend.

Thirdly, I spoke to my mamma. I do most every day, but today seems to be going my way, and she is a part of that.  So I include her as part of my good day.

Fourthly, I filled out all the paperwork to sell my house today. I finally managed to offload the property. So today, a huge financial weight is lifted off my shoulders.

What’s in store for the rest of the day? Well, now that work is over, maybe a little jog on the beach, and then come back to finish up one of my side jobs.

How was your day?

Cooking Lessons

November 12, 2007

There’s no way to say this other than just to admit it… I’m an Italian who can cook very few Italian dishes. This isn’t to say I can’t cook. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, mostly some of my favorite dishes that my mamma used to make. But aside from risotto and some fairly basic pasta dishes, I’m not a great cook when it comes to Italian food.

That’s why I’ve decided to make the best use of my incredibly slow Saturdays at the restaurant (Il Boccaccio at Hermosa Beach) by learning to cook food from the motherland. And therein lies the irony, because the chef who teaches me each Saturday is, as you may have guessed, Mexican. Don’t laugh, though, because damn, vato can cook!!! Plus, if you laugh at him, he may kill you. =]

Last week I learned to make poached salmon (not necessarily Italian). This past Saturday, we made fresh pesto… not too difficult in itself, but you have to start from the basics. It culminated in this, spaghetti al pesto!

Pesto nella cucina

And here is the chef himself, Manny (his face is dark to maintain his anonymity, not because I’m a bad photographer!). Can’t wait for next week, cannelloni con la zucca (cannelloni stuffed with pumpkin) !!!

El Chef Manny

It’s the New Style!!!

November 10, 2007

4 and 3 and 2 and 1… I needed not one, but two rap references to mark my return to the blogosphere! (“New Style” from the Beastie Boys and “Going back to Cali” from LL Cool J)!

So first off… Welcome to my Word Press blog. I’ve always liked to do my own thing with regard to website/blog design, but in these insanely busy times, I figure I may as well utilize the technology available to me to take the work out of blogging. Content supersedes display in importance (just look at Craigslist!). And so I’ll get to the interface stuff later.

Anyway, this is just a welcome letter. I hope to add some short blurbs here and there. But mostly, I just want to share the random shitake that happens in a day in the life of Sessoms… So come back and visit soon! Better yet, get the RSS feed so you won’t have to call us, we’ll call you. =]