Monthly Archives: November 2009

Fitness Report 27Nov09

Waist – 41″

Weight – 222 lbs

Body Fat Percentage – 32.3%(scale)/29%(A.F.C.)

Overweight by – 33 pounds

Exercising – Eh, no, holiday and weather giving me bad excuses

Dieting – See above

I feel – bleah

Another week in the wrong direction. I know what the problem is. Working on it.

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Fitness Report 20Nov09

Waist – 41″

Weight – 219.2 lbs

Body Fat Percentage – 24% (just the Army calculator this week)

Overweight by – 29.2 pounds

Exercising – Slowly getting back into the groove

Dieting – Kind of

I feel – Tired, irritable (still)

Not much change. A little bit, though, and in the right direction. I’m not expecting to dramatically decrease back to where I was when I hurt myself. I had a pretty good thing built up over time by then, so I’m sure it will take several weeks to get turned back around on the weight loss track. In other words, I don’t expect to really lose weight for another month or two. We’ll see.

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Federalist Society Lecture Series: Ken Starr

Thursday, 19Nov09, the Federalist Society’s student chapter at the University of Kansas hosted former Clinton-era Independent Counsel and current Dean of Pepperdine School of Law, Ken Starr. The topic for his guest lecture was the Constitution, specifically the Amendments. He stated at the beginning of his lecture that he was not really there to address specific, current political issues, and he did not, despite a few attempts during the Q&A session to corner him. His talk was that of a professor delivering a course overview to students, and his attitude was that of a rather jovial professor.

He was at his most passionate when he pulled out his “sentimental” copy of the U.S. Constitution from his pocket and read to us from it. I used to carry around a copy of the Constitution myself, a pocket sized version printed by the Cato Institute. Maybe I should add it to my pocket knife, watch and handkerchief combination that I hardly ever leave the house without? Anyway, I was surprised to learn that the average for proposed amendments to the Constitution is normally around a few hundred per decade, with the exception of the 1960s and 1970s, which had 2,598 and 2,014, respectively. Interesting stuff.

Dean Starr mentioned several interesting things, such as “the perfidy of Aaron Burr” (something I still need to look into to understand) and the writings of Professor Sanford Levinson, author of Our Undemocratic Constitution, apparently a book about how much better our country would be if we didn’t have a 2cnd Amendment or Executive veto powers. I guess.

Of more interest to me was Dean Starr’s discussion of the authority of the Supreme Court regarding the Constitution. It’s my suspicion that this is the primary reason he was lecturing there, given that it was a Federalist Society event. He quoted an interesting exchange that made me wish I had taken better notes, but the gist of it was one early American politician saying that a Supreme Court judge should strike down laws he felt were “against the natural order”, and another one responding with what amounts to “go piss up a rope”. Man, I wish I had taken better notes, because I’m sure the actual quotes are more interesting than that…

During the Q&A session, the president of the KU College Republicans asked Dean Starr if he believed that the Constitution allowed for the current administration’s plan to force people to purchase health insurance. Dean Starr gently corrected an error in his Constitution citing and then went on to say that compulsive goods purchasing was unprecedented, but that Congress had “broad powers”, and basically didn’t say one way or the other. Another student asked about whether terrorists (“you mean ‘alleged terrorists…'”) were guaranteed the same rights as U.S. citizens, in a question I gathered was in regards to the directive the President had issued that the Guantanamo prisoners be moved to the U.S. and tried in a regular court. Dean Starr unequivocally stated that he believed that Constitutional rights applied to anyone, not just U.S. citizens. He further went on to comment that he was a supporter of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, something that honestly surprised me until I found out that it doesn’t mention specific civil rights for LGBT folk (Dean Starr was on the anti same sex marriage side of California’s Proposition 8 legal battle).

Yet another interesting trip down the hill to Green Hall. I got better pictures of my event this time, but took poorer notes. I can’t even read most of what I scribbled out. Dean Starr is more or less someone from a t.v. show I watched on the t.v., if you’ll excuse such a vulgar metaphor. I only knew the name from the Monica Lewinsky scandal, something I never really cared about, the only politics that interested me at the time relating to whether or not I would be deployed (I was with the 101st Airborne at the time, and frankly had more important things going on). He certainly wasn’t the boogey man that he was made out to be, but then again I was not facing him in a court room. I guess I should stop being surprised that politicians can be charming and likable in real life, even if I vehemently disagree on fundamental issues with them. After all, if they didn’t have a certain level of personal charm and charisma, their careers in politics wouldn’t have even got off the ground. Even Bob Dole had his funny erectile dysfunction commercials. But I digress…


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Jumping Off The Bench

This evening, Thursday 18Nov09, I pulled myself out of my injury induced “exercise depression”. I was sitting in my media room making excuses not to go to my club activities today when I faced the reality that this is what I was doing. I had got myself into some very good exercise habits, had made it a part of my regular life and existence. The results of that made me feel great and pushed me a long way toward my goals. Re-injuring my knee forced me to take a break from that which was providing me with so much progress and pleasure. A month on the bench while all that positive energy slowly drains away, and I become lazy and sedentary again.

Screw that. That’s not who I am. I told myself that if I missed out on tonight then it was just going to be that much easier for me to make excuses next week. Going to the kendo tournament this past weekend helped a lot to shake the cobwebs out of my brain on this issue, that’s for sure. I had a great time, but I wasn’t able to do the best kendo that I possibly could, and not just due to performance anxiety. I think that I did pretty good for my level of experience, but I wonder how much better I could have been if I had fought those fights at the level of readiness I was at before I twisted my knee. Knowing I could have done better if I had followed through with the intention to get to practice as soon as the doctor cleared me, well, that just bothers me.

Also, I gained back about ten pounds and one inch on the waist. And that bothers me too. I’ve got lazy about my exercise and my diet and now I’m backsliding. So I’m back off the bench, and for now I’m back on the wagon. Alcohol is liquid calories, and I had the benefit of being on a medicine that didn’t allow me to drink it for several months. I have been known to consume large quantities of the stuff, and that’s not good for the belly and thighs. I’m not the booze hound I used to be by any stretch, but I could drink even less, I know. I believe I mentioned it before in a Fitness Report, but I reiterate here that I am not engaging in recreational drinking until I am safely below two-hundred pounds. Also, I quit smoking for good. That’s not all that dramatic when you consider that I only smoked the occasional cigar or pipe, but it’s something my doctors have been harping on me about for years.

For the record, I had a great time tonight back at fencing and kendo. I’m pretty sure that I am going to remain in the fencing club in the spring semester. I haven’t had enough of it yet, and I seem to have taken to it fairly well. I showed up late tonight but managed to get in a lot of good bouting, and I think I even managed to start learning something. It felt even better to get back to the KU Kendo Club, speaking of good sparring. I practiced kata the hour between fencing and kendo, which is something I need to continue to do. I don’t do enough kata. And speaking of kata, it’s been a good three weeks since I’ve been to iaido class. It’s time to start back at that, even though I have no idea how long it will be before I’m able to do the seiza waza.

I’m back, yo.


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Law school admissions exercise and questions with an economist.

Tuesday, 17Nov09, I attended another Phi Alpha Delta chapter meeting at the University of Kansas in the English Room at the Kansas Union. I am not blogging every meeting I go to because that would be boring and repetitive, but I thought this one was interesting enough to mention. We broke into three groups and received three different mock law school applications. The exercise was for us to review the candidates as if we were an admissions panel, picking the applications apart and deciding who we thought was best. On top of that, each team was assigned a different applicant to make a case for to the others teams. We were to factor in that the law school was looking to improve GPA averages, LSAT score averages and to diversify the ethnic composition of the student body.

So, put fifteen wannabe-lawyers into a room and require them to make convincing arguments. Let’s just say it was a passionate and vigorous discussion. Afterward there was a blind vote where everyone chose which candidate they really thought should be admitted, rather then the one they were assigned to advocate for. It was interesting to me that as heated as the argument got at certain points, the result of that vote was overwhelming. And the exercise itself was very illuminating. I think the point of the whole thing was to make us think about our own applications, and to be exposed to how each aspect of it was going to be scrutinized and picked apart. It’s an intimidating idea to think about, really. Some of us are going to have a harder time than others being admitted, that’s just a reality to deal with. And unfortunately so is the reality that not everyone gets admitted. I don’t know about you, but I love challenges, and this may be my biggest challenge yet. We’ll see.

After the PAD meeting I had to rush over the hill to the Burge Union, where the KU College Republicans were hosting a Q&A session with Dr. Art Hall, the Executive Director for the Center of Applied Economics at the University of Kansas. I got there about fifteen minutes late and the conversation was in full swing when I eased into the room. Dr. Hall was discussing the current state of the economy, and there was a lot of talk about the relationship between China and the U.S. Now, I screwed up my chance to look like I knew anything when addressing Newt Gingrich, but I don’t think I made that flub this evening. China-U.S. relations is something that I’ve been slightly more than casually following, and anyone who has been on the business end of my occasional political tirades on Myspace knows how important and dangerous I think China is going to be in the 21st Century. I have a few theories about what’s really going on in the world, and having an honest to god expert on the subject to ask questions of was exciting. I got to ask about a half dozen of them, and the replies were interesting. Jim Mullins, a Field Director for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, was there as well. I don’t think he was on the card, rather he was fulfilling what I believe to be the AFP’s mission by asking questions and making comments, which were also interesting.

This “being involved” business is pretty cool.


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