Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cub Camp - Day 4 of 4

Aah, the final day. There were several highlights for the closing day of camp:
  • Pirate reenactors came and told us about life as a pirate and why they joined a pirate crew...and they had a swordfight, too!
  • A raingutter regatta was held, and halfway into it we discovered that the left-side gutter was far slower than the right.
  • The fire department sprayed us all with a water cannon mounted on their fire truck. Lots of screams of delight ensued.
  • We went on a treasure hunt! (When I retrieved the "pirate chest" at the end of the hunt, I took off running, screaming, "Arrr harr harr! I've got all your booty and ye'll never catch me! Harr harr!" Eight screaming kids with foam swords ran after me. I intentionally tripped and was pummeled--almost to bruising!--before I yelled "Arrr! I give up!")
  • We had field games, including various races with other crews.
  • We tried to launch a few more wet sponges with the launchers, but it somehow deterioirated into a water melee with sponges, buckets, and a sprinkler.
All in all, it was a fantastic camp, and Gene Travers (the Camp Captain) and his motley crew deserve huge kudos for a job well done.

100 Pushups - Week 1 Day 3

I had intended to challenge my Scouts at camp on Friday to try to keep up with me on my 15, 13, 10, 10, max (> 15) day but it didn't happen, partly because I forgot and partly because we were pretty busy. So I ended up doing my push ups on Saturday night right before bed--it was really hard to get up the gumption to do them, not only because I was tired, but also because I was afraid that I'd fail. As it turns out, I maxed out at 17 after having about as hard a time doing the sets as I did every other day this week.

So no exhaustion test at the end of this week; next week, I stay in column 3. At the end of next week, though, I do take an exhaustion test. It'll be interesting to see how many I can do in a row then, after two weeks of training.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cub Camp - Day 3 of 4

Okay, I've got to be quick since day 4's camp starts in an hour...

Highlights of day 3 include:
  • More BB gun and Archery range time,
  • Decorating and assembling boats for the raingutter regatta that will be run on day 4,
  • "Sword" duels on a 2x6 plank over water--the loser gets wet,
  • a duel between Gene, the camp director, and me--I won 2 out of 3,
  • and a tremendous water fight/sword fight melee that involved wet car wash sponges, buckets of water, foam pirate swords, and a sprinkler.
I hear that day 4 will bring REAL LIVE pirate reenacters in a sword duel that will blow our minds. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

100 Pushups - Week 1 Day 2

I feel like I've been run over by a truck!

When I woke up this morning, I had serious doubts about today's push ups goal: 12, 12, 10, 10, max (> 10) with 90 seconds in between sets. Between Monday's push ups, Tuesday's double-fast run, and Cub Camp Monday and Tuesday, I was sore all over. I had hoped the soreness would diminish some as the day progresses, but it was not happenin'. I went to the gym anyway.

The first 12 wasn't bad. The second 12 was okay; a bit shaky, but okay. Both 10s were rough, and I mean really rough. Somehow, though, the max (I hit 11!) went better! When I started, I felt strong and quick. I had to pause at 6 and 9 push ups, but I didn't ever "rest." So 55 push ups today, total! Not bad at all!

I'm going to be at Boy Scout Camp for Friday's set. I wonder if any of those young whippersnappers want to try to keep up...

Cub Camp - Day 2 of 4

%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0ACub+Camp+day+2+was+just+as+fantastic+as+day+1%21+I+went+home+on+Monday+wondering+what+they+could+possibly+have+in+store+that+would+top+the+games%2C+ %2C+and+crafts+that+they+had+organized+for+Monday.+Well+between+the+obstacle+course%2C+archery%2C+and+SWORD+MAKING%2C+they+sure+came+close%21%0D%0A%0D%0AThe+first+obstacle+was+a+set+of+5+car+tires+that+the+kids+had+to+step+through%2C+like+you+see+in+a+military+basic+training+video.+Then%2C+they+had+to+walk+a+2x6+plank+laid+across+a+water+obstacle%3B+it+was+hardly+an+obstacle%2C+since+it+was+only+about+3+inches+deep%2C+but+it+was+the+IDEA+of+an+obstacle+that+was+neat.+Next%2C+they+had+to+scale+a+3%27+tall+wooden+wall%2C+which+was+taller+than+some+of+the+kids+that+tackled+it%21+Several+of+the+smaller+Cubs+charged+it+with+gusto+and+vaulted+themselves+over+it%2C+to+the+applause+and+cheers+of+onlookers%21+The+obstacle+course+was+in+the+same+place+as+the+Ship+from+day+1%2C +and+slashing+aplenty--one+boy+in+particular+was+rather...enthusiastic+and+had+to+be+warned+%3Ci%3Eseveral+times%3C%2Fi%3E+that+this+was+not+a+%3Ci%3Ereal%3C%2Fi%3E+battle+and+that+he+needed+to+tone+it+down.+One+of+the+rules+that+was+strictly+enforced+was+no+head+shots.+I+think+the+boys+did+rather+well+at+policing+each+other+on+that+one.%0D%0AAfter+all+the+Cubs+had+made+their+swords%2C+the+staff+announced+that+there+was+a+bit+more+raw+material%2C+and+if+any+ s+wanted+to+make+a+sword+they+were+welcome+to+do+so.+ +before+dishonor%21%22+cried+my+spirit.+For+the+first+5+minutes%2C+my+sprit+won.%0D%0A%0D%0AI+hacked%2C+I+slashed%2C+I+stabbed%2C+I+poked%2C+I+spun%2C+I+dodged%2C+and+I+whirled.+I+might+as+well+have+been+in+the+Matrix+for+the+acrobatics+I+was+pulling%2C+battling+these+pint-sized+piranha.+Then%2C+my+legs+remembered+that+they+ran+two+miles+at+lunch+time%2C+about+45+seconds+per+mile+faster+than+I%27m+used+to.+And+the+velcro+closure+on+my+chest+harness+that+kept+Polly+perched+pertly+on+my+shoulder+decided+to+pop.+I+called+a+time+out+%28which+only+kept+%3Ci%3Ehalf%3C%2Fi%3E+of+the+boys+from+bopping+me%21%29+while+I+fixed+the+strap.+And+gasped+for+breath.+Thirty+more+seconds+of+Cub+cutting+and+boy+bashing+and+I%27d+had+it.+I+tossed+the+sword+to+a+nearby+dad+who+had%2C+until+then%2C+been+a+spectator.+%22Tag%21+You%27re+it%2C%22+I+gasped.+Fortunately+for+the+boys%2C+he+brandished+the+sword%2C+gave+a+mighty+pirate+%22Aaaargh%21%22+and+waded+into+the+fray.%0D%0A%0D%0AAbout+5+minutes+later%2C+two+more+ s+joined+in+and+the+boys+split+ranks+to+deal+with+the+new+foes.+The+

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cub Camp - Day 1 of 4

The first day of camp was a blast. I didn't see much of J throughout the evening--camp was from 6pm to 9pm--but I heard his yells a few times. Our first activity was coloring bandanas for the Cubs to wear. There were piratey stencils and Sharpie markers--a deadly combination in the hands of 6 and 7 year olds. Not one Cub escaped without permanent damage to their skin color. At the same station, we also made a pirate flag for our "crew."

Next, we went to the games arena and ran the obstacle course, of sorts. The camp organizers had fashioned a boat hull, complete with sail, a moat "lake" water hazard to cross, and a booty-filled beach--that's pirate treasure, not the other kind. So the Cubs had to lower the sail, extend the gangplank, cross the water, grab a treasure chest, walk back over the plank, drop the treasure on the boat, hoist the sail, and enter the "cabin" in as little time as possible. The boys all had a ton of fun with it. And as a neat touch, each treasure chest had a name on it; I saw "Crabby Patties," "Dead Man's Chest," and "My Treasure, Don't Touch."

Next was cannon practice. The Cubs launched soaked sponges into a field using what I know as water balloon launchers--a pocket attached to two lengths of surgical tubing. It was a bit tricky at the start, but once they got the hang of it, those Cubs were really launching those things! The last activity of the evening was the range. All the boys shot BB guns, and most of the boys used bows and arrows--we rand out of time at the end. I was very impressed with the level of safety instruction the Rangemaster gave at both gun and archery ranges. The Cub Rangemaster certification classes must be really good.

There were only two injuries of note that night: a whacked hand and a bit tongue. Both were relatively minor, and neither injury was in my Crew or one of my sons. So as sorry as I was to hear of the injury, I'm glad that my Crew and boys were safe.

Cub Camp - Costuming

Spence was really excited about going to Cub Scout camp this year, it being his first year and all. He's a Tiger Cub, and the rules state that an "adult partner" (read: Spence's dad) needs to be with him for every activity, including camp. Since I knew I'd be there the whole week with him, I thought I'd do what I could to get into the theme of camp: Pirates.

I puttered around for a day or two, thinking of anything creative I could whip together that would be piratey. Then it hit me! When I was 17-18, I was in a theater production of Babes in Toyland where I played Gonzorgo, a pirate with a parrot. I ended up keeping the parrot after the production was over--with permission, of course! When I got her out of storage, she was still in great condition. So I tried on the harness that she is attached to...the one that I wore when I was a teen...and it still fit. *big grin* All I needed was a shirt with a hole in the right shoulder that I could stick Polly out through. I found a baggy old black tshirt, ripped a few seams, reinforced with a few stitches, and voila! a pirate-with-a-parrot shirt.

But I wanted a little more. That's when I remembered my fencing foil.

In college, I took a fencing class and I still have my old foil. I figured it'd be perfect! It's neither sharp nor pointy, it's thin so it's not too bulky, and it fit in at least relatively closely to the pirate theme...but I needed a way to carry it.

I sewed a belt loop out of some black fabric I had laying around, then sewed an unused key ring into the bottom of the loop. That way, it'd make a nice metal-on-metal ringing sound when I sheathed and unsheathed it. When I showed it to Kara, though, her exact words were, "You're not bringing a sword to Cub Scouts."

I was horrified to realize that she might have a point. Ha ha. So I emailed the camp director and he was really excited about it--in a good way. So I brought it.

Lastly, I needed a head covering. Lacking a pirate hat, I went to bed on Sunday night pondering what to do.

You know how sometimes you have dreams where you get these fantastic ideas but they're totally unrealistic so they could never work except in your dreams? I get those all the time. But this once, I had an epiphany that was so crazy it just might work. I could wear a bandanna, like pirates, but instead of some generic bandanna, I'd wear a Scout neckerchief. But not just any A dark blue Tiger Cub Den Leader neckerchief. Subtle, in theme, and Scouty.

Okay, so here's the picture:

Monday, June 23, 2008

100 Pushups - Week 1 Day 1

Week one, day one of my hundred push ups goal went okay, but worse than I expected. I was scheduled to do the following sets: 10, 10, 8, 6, and max (but at least 10). Since I did 21 pushups on my initial test last week, I thought it would be a piece of cake--too easy, really. Guess what? I was wrong.

The first set of 10 wasn't bad at all; in fact, I had to tell myself to take it slowly and pace it better. Then a 60 second rest. The second set of 10 was a bit more challenging than the first, but still not too tough. Then a 60 second rest.

The set of 8 was a lot harder than I thought 8 push ups could be! I struggled and strained to get them all in! Then a 60 second rest. The last set was almost as bad as the third set; I had trouble with 6 push ups. Unbelievable. I thought I'd never make the max goal of 10, but I eeked out 13 (just barely!) good form push ups. I may be in trouble towards the end of this week when I've got sets of 15, 13, 10, 10, and max > 15.

Having just completed my first round felt great. My blood was pumping, my arms were noodle-ish, and my chest felt tight--not heart attack tight, more like "flexing muscles" tight. Maybe next week I'll take my shirt off and do these right before I go to bed...we'll see what Kara thinks of that.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

100 Pushups

In random stumblings through the web, I happened upon a site that inspired me: Lately, I've been struggling in my workouts, and lacking motivation. I figure that this is a short-term (read: short enough to keep my attention!) goal, that seems challenging, yet somewhat attainable.

Before you start the program, you're supposed to complete an initial test--basically do as many push ups as you can. I did 21 "good form" push ups, which I suppose is decent for as much as I do push ups--almost never.

Each week has three levels of exercise, but they don't really take that initial rank into account. Instead, you take another initial test at the end of some weeks to determine your level for the following week. For week one, day one, I'll do sets of 10, 10, 8, 7, and then max out. Day two is 12, 12, 10, 10, and max. Day three is 15, 13, 10, 10, and max.

I'm not sure how week one will go, but I'm hoping that I can get through it okay...