Monthly Archives: July 2009

100 Push Up Challenge, Week 3

Last weekend was the beginning of the 100 Push Up challenge and I managed to get through 30 consecutive push ups for the initial strength test.

I really have no idea of what ‘normal’ would be for an average guy being asked to do push ups but I generally consider myself reasonably strong – so figured that an initial strength test of 30 was doing pretty well. It wasn’t until I read the training program to complete 100 consecutive push ups that I realised that I was no where near strong enough, in particular completely lacking the endurance. When doing strength training at a gym, I would normally do 3 sets of 10-12 repitions on a much heavier weight but the challenge of five sets with much, much higher repititions is going to be tough.

The first session in week 3 was, in short, an eye opening experience. I had assumed that since the guide placed me into week 3 that it’d be relatively smooth sailing, however I wasn’t able to complete all the requirements on each of the five sets and came up short in sets four and five. Not surprisingly, within 15 minutes of completing the session – my arms felt like they’d recovered and were able to go again. It wasn’t until Tuesday that I realised that doing push ups was working whole new sets of muscle groups, core muscles to be exact which were noticely tired and sore that day.

Session number two and the repitions increased again, which after not completing the first session successfully only two days earlier – I held little hope that I’d make it through. To my surprise, while I didn’t make it through all five sets completely – I only came up by a handful of push ups and incresed my total work output from 70 to 95 push ups.

On to the last session for the week and everything increased again, however after having what I’d consider a successful session two – I entered session three with reasonable expectations that I’d at least complete the strength training completely. Not only did each of the sets get completed, I pushed an additional 10 push ups out of the fifth set giving a total of 130 for the session.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going through last weeks work out with such a weak start, however after the initial shock of strength and endurance training for the first time in 10 months – everything kicked back into gear and I’m hopeful that I won’t fall off the wagon until I can complete at least 100 consecutive push ups!

CoolerMaster Power Supplies Suck

At the end of 2008, I felt my geek prowess was fading and I rebuilt my desktop computer to reestablish my geek-fu.

Immediately after I purchased the new computer parts and assembed it, everything went along without a hitch for quite some time. Unfortunately, I had a really bad run of harwdare problems which began with my CoolerMaster 550w Extreme power supply making a whurring noise, which when replaced was essentially dead on arrival. After the next replacement arrived, it worked just fine – however it seemed that I had a problem with my Asus GeForce 8800GT video card; the first Asus product I’ve owned that has not performed flawlessly for its entire lifecycle. After getting that sorted out, happy days and I finally had my working desktop computer back which was great.

Over the last two months, I’ve been hearing reports from Claire that she felt my computer was warmer than it should be. Given that I was always feeling it in the evening after work, I never noticed it so dismissed the comment. Approximately a fortnight ago my older brother Andrew made the same comment, to the extent that he even turned my computer off. At that point, clearly something wasn’t right so I investigated further and to my surprise I find that the second replacement CoolerMaster power supply fan has failed. The machine still boots up fine, however after a relatively short amount of time (less than 2 hours) of operation, it crashes and I’m forced to reboot the machine to continue working.

I cannot believe that the power supply has failed again & it’ll be the last time that I buy a CoolerMaster product – that many failures just isn’t normal.

100 Push Up Challenge

I came across a personal fitness and exercise site named 100 Push Ups, which is about what it suggests – being able to do 100 push ups in a row.

Over the weekend I went through the initial test, which is to guage what your current fitness level is. The test is very straight foward, do as many consecutive good form push ups as you can in one session until you can’t push another one out. That number is used to place yourself into the fitness training program. I managed to get through 30 push ups in my initial test, which puts me into week three of the training schedule.

It wasn’t until I started reading through how the fitness program is structured to build strength that I realised that I was in for a bit of a shock. While at the gym, I’d normally do weights in sets of three with between 10-15 repetitions per set. At week three in the push up challenge, the sets start at 14 and go up from there.

As a matter of curiosity, a few months ago I thought it’d be useful to know how much weight I lift when doing a simple push up and it was approximately 55kg or slightly over 50% of my body weight. With that number in mind, I knew getting through the 100 push up challenge was going to be just that – a challenge and not something that I’d casually stroll through.

In the coming weeks, I’ll report back on how my progress is going on the challenge. I don’t expect it to be easy but I’m hoping that I build my arm strength up in a hurry, as by the end of next week the exercise program is expecting me to do 160 push ups over five sets with two minutes break between each set !

Metal Sculptures

Vladimir Bulatov metal sculpture Rhombic Triacontaheddron IIII came across some of the most magnificent metal sculptures by Vladimir Bulatov. The metal sculptures are amazing, not only because they are visually mesmerising, but you’re mind immediately starts thinking about how you’d create such an intricate and interweaving sculpture from metal. Vladimir provides a brief description of the construction process as:

The process of making my sculptures starts from mathematical idea.

I build a computer model to represent this mathematical idea in 3D world. At this stage I have some very rough understanding of how the object will look. Next I apply custom algorithms to give the model nice body and organic look. I write all software I use for this process. At this stage I have detailed computer image of the future sculpture which I can rotate and manipulate in real time.

Next step is to play with computer model and to select parameters of the model to make sculpture look most interesting. The selected model is saved in special 3D file format as hundreds of thousands of tiny triangles representing surface of the object.

The file is transferred to state of the art metal printing machine, which assembles real piece from thin (0.002 inch) layers of stainless steel powder, heats fragile porous piece in the furnace and infiltrates with molten bronze to make it solid.

On the final stage I hand polish pieces and burnish them in tumbles with steel shot for a day or two in tumbler.

My first encounter with mathematic fuelled artwork was at university, when a textbook was covered with the now famous, Umbilic Torus NC by Helaman Ferguson. While the Umbilic Torus NC is also compelling, the detail, smooth lines and complexity of metal sculptures by Vladimir Bulatov is hard to beat.

Roger Federer Wimbledon 2009 Winner & Greatest Player Ever

For those that didn’t get an opportunity to see the Wimbledon 2009 final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, you missed a spectacular match which is sure to go down in the history books.

Leading into the match, a lot of the press going on was touting Roger Federer as an easy win over Andy Roddick due to an imposing 18-2 win/loss ratio against him in the past. While it might have seemed a logical choice, you can never underestimate what a grand slam final will do to a player, drive them to greatness or crumple under the pressure.

Looking at how Andy Roddick had played leading into the final, I wasn’t confident that Roger Federer would walk over him to win Wimbledon 2009 at all – Roddick was playing some of the best tennis in his career. He dismantled Tomas Berdych in straight sets, ground out a hard fought five setter against Lleyton Hewitt with great shot making and knocked off the third seed Andy Murray in four – Roddick was a changed man and on a mission. While Andy Roddick played an extra five sets on the way to the 2009 Wimbledon final over Roger Federer, the previous two losses in 2004 and 2005 to Federer were sure to light the fire within for the third encounter.

Roger Federer had an impressive run in to the finals, dropping only a single set which was swiftly reclaimed without mercy 6-1 the following. Federer had been playing great tennis for the entire Wimbledon tournament, backing up from his first French Open win earlier in the year. Due to how the draw unfolded, Roger Federer didn’t come up against a top 10 seeded player before the final, the highest being the 13th seed Robin Soderling. There was speculation that the lack of a dominant oppontent was going to severely hinder the finals performance of Federer, however being a consummate professional and 14 open champion – I was confident that he’d find the muster if and when required.

After more than four hours had lapsed on centre court at Wimbledon, Roger Federer set the record books alight by claiming his 15th grand slam title and surpassing the long standing record of Pete Sampras. The match game score was 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14.

The overall match statistics were incredible from both players, especially the serving statistics from Roddick with 70% first serves in averaging 203kph and a fastest serve of 228kph. Despite the blazing speed and a high percentage from Roddick, Roger Federer nearly doubled the number of aces at 50 and combined with an imposing percentage win ratio on service and return – handed Roger Federer the win.

  Roddick Federer
1st Serve % 168/239 (70%) 127/197 (64%)
Aces 27 50
Double Faults 4 4
Unforced Errors 33 38
1st Serve (Winning %) 140/168 (83%) 113/127 (89%)
2nd Serve (Winning %) 31/71 (44%) 42/70 (60%)
Winners (Including Service) 74 107
Receiving Points Won 42/197 (21%) 68/239 (28%)
Break Point Conversions 2/5 (40%) 1/7 (14%)
Net Approaches 42/69 (61%) 38/59 (64%)
Total Points Won 213 223
Fastest Serve 228kph 216kph
1st Serve Average Speed 203kph 189kph
2nd Serve Average Speed 168kph 152kph

Roger Federer was without question the greatest player of his era, which is a milestone that Rod Laver always measures a player by. However after winning his 6th Wimbledon grand slam title and 15th in total, which as restored his world #1 ranking, has now also rightfully earned the title of the greatest player in history.