A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

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Biggs 2022 New Years Intentions

It’s that time again, time to make my 2022 New Years intentions. I made some progress in all of the areas in which I declared intentions in 2021. I will get into more details in each of their respective sections below. 2021 was not as challenging of a year as 2020 but it had its moments. This damn Covid virus continues to wreak havoc physically, mentally and emotionally. It has the country, and possibly the world, divided. Some are scared, some refuse to be afraid, and some just don’t know what to believe anymore. The media is at fault.

Fitness Update; Beast Mode!

About a month ago I wrote a mid-year review of my 2021 intentions. In that time I have made some changes to my workouts and running goals. As I said in that post, I have a strategy for improving my daily run distance to 6 miles a day. I am officially running that distance. Granted it’s not quite 6.2 (i.e. a 10k), however adding two-tenths of a mile is a very minor adjustment.

I have not run 9 miles on my push day, yet. I am still calculating how I can achieve that distance given the geography of my location. My hope is to try to hit that goal by mid-to-late August.

Beast Mode Engaged

So this brings me to the pre-workout. There are two areas I focus on as part of my pre-workout; core and strength training. Three days a week my pre-workout focuses on strengthening my core. I tried a few exercises while attempting to keep the reps and sets within 15-30 minutes.

Core Strengthening Exercises

This is the pre-workout Core exercise routine that is working well for me:

  • 30 sec planks x 3
  • 10 squats x 3
  • 10 doorway rows x 3
  • 1 minute farmer’s carry x 2
  • 10 kettle bell swings (with a dumb bell) x 2

Strength Training Exercises

Then, two days a week, I focus on strength training. This is where I get a little intense. I initially started with doing push-ups, which I hate doing. Then I saw my sister and her husband doing burpees and I thought, well if they can do burpees then so can I. So I changed my push-ups to burpees.

Burpees suck as much as everyone says they do. They. Are. Hard. I changed my push-ups to burpees and I was doing that for about a week. Then someone told me about a similar exercise called the devils press, which is aptly named. It’s basically a burpee with dumbbells. Watch this short video to see how to do this exercise.

I changed my burpee to this exercise starting at 15 lb. dumbbells because my upper body is still a little weak. So this is my strength training routine:

  • 6 Devils Press (burpee) x 3
  • 10 Dumbbell Dead Lift x 3
  • 10 Dumbbell Row x 3
  • 8 Dumbbell Standing Curls x 2
  • 8 Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extensions x 2

By the end of the week, assuming I complete all of these routines and my 6 miles each day, I feel pretty good. My body feels like I’ve had a decent workout and I’m not too sore or too tired. My goal is to stick to this routine for a couple months and see how I’m feeling by the fall.



I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!


The (Belated) Bad Idea Birthday Challenge Post

I’ve been lazy. Actually I’ve been busy with a few real life things and I’ve been learning a new programming language. When I start something new like that, I get a little obsessed and I lose track of my other hobbies and activities. I’ve also been rebuilding my NAS server. I will write more about that stuff at a later time. My birthday was a month ago and I’ll be honest, I haven’t completed a Bad Idea Birthday Challenge this year and I don’t know if I will do one.

In the past years I’ve calculated a distance based on my age using some kind of conjured equation. First it was my age divided by 10, then it was my age in kilometers, divided by 10. Obviously the pandemic changed everything last year.

What’s In Store for 2021?

I don’t know. We are still trying to come out from under these pandemic restrictions so most races are still virtual, delayed or cancelled (again). I kind of made a fitness goal in my 2021 intentions by completing a 15k and I may still do that but I haven’t decided if I’m going to do it as part of an official run. My daily average is up to 5.3 miles with my farthest 2021 distance at about 7.3 miles. Perhaps it’s best if I make it a flexible challenge this year.

My new daily average goal is 6+ miles (roughly a 10K every day) and to finally break the 9 mile mark on a push day. I will try to sign up and complete some kind of organized race (virtual or in-person – I am fully vaccinated now). If something strikes me as a worthy “birthday challenge” then I can revaluate my goals. In the mean time, I guess my “bad idea birthday challenge” and my 2021 goals are one-in-the-same.

Also, a quick amusing side note. I’ve kind of become a neighborhood celebrity. People are always waving at me from their cars or their front yards so frequently it feels like I’m in a parade. A few people have commented on how much weight I’ve lost or ask far I run every day. I also receive many “thumbs up” and even the occasional applause. It’s actually quite motivating.



I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!


Biggs 2021 New Years Intentions

I’m a week late with this post but, as I said in my review, 2020 sucked so better late than never! As a result of the unusual circumstances and the shutdowns, the increased stress interfered a bit with my 2020 goals. While I know that merely changing years won’t eliminate the virus or the stress it causes, I’m hopeful that this year won’t be as awful as last year. We are ahead of the virus and there are at least two vaccines that are FDA approved (as of the time of this writing). I’m looking forward to getting back out to the zoo and the ballpark. Therefore the first of my 2021 New Years intentions is to remain hopeful and optimistic about this year.

Biggs Labs – Smart Home/Professional Development

2021 New Years Projects IntentionsThis suffered the most from my mental state as a result of the shutdowns. I did not make a lot of progress on many of my technical goals. I didn’t touch the Smart Things and Raspberry Pi integration. Honestly, I don’t know if I will get to it this year or not. I have a higher priority to update the Gift List web application I wrote. While I didn’t make a lot of coding progress on the gift list revamp, I have spent a bit of time designing the changes and making a list of updates and new features. I hope to begin this development immediately.

This blog site will also get some love this year. Apparently I have to find a new theme. I have been using Suffusion for several years, however I recently found out WordPress is no longer approving the theme. Their reason is “it doesn’t meet requirements”; I’m very disappointed in WordPress. So I will be hunting for a new theme. If any of you are WordPress admins, shoot me your theme suggestions.

Finally, I need to find something new to learn. Some kind of coding language or library. I’m stuck in a rut and feeling bored with programming so I need something to restore my enthusiasm.

2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2021 New Years Reading Challenge Intentions I’m setting my reading challenge goal to 15 with the hope that I will exceed it. Last year I was 40% away from finishing my 15th book so with a little more diligence I think I can easily meet the goal, and surpass it. The Dresden Files will, again, be the books that help me reach my goal. I’ve started book 11 so it’s possible I may catch up this year (there are now 18 books).

I’m thinking about reading The Inheritance Series again; I’m a big fan of Paolini’s work and I’m excited to read about Eragon again. I will cover the books I read for the 2020 Reaching Challenge in a separate post.

2021 New Years Health Goals

My health goals are going to look a little different this year. The effects of the stress and anxiety of 2020 still linger and, while I don’t expect things to magically improve in 2021, I can control how it affects me, mentally.

Physical Fitness Goals

2021 New Years fitness goalsIn 2020 I was supposed to complete a 15K at the Flying Pig. Obviously that was cancelled but that didn’t stop me from setting some new goals. I tried to run as often as possible to keep in good health. The doctors were telling me that one of the best methods for staying healthy amid the virus was to keep exercising. I improved my daily running distance to 5+ miles a day. On my push days I am exceeding 8 miles but I have not reached 9 miles yet (a 15K is approximately 9.3 miles).

I don’t know what I will do this year in regards to the Flying Pig. Currently their website states you can sign up for a virtual run with the option to change to in-person if health officials allow large gatherings. My original plan was to run the half this year, but that was assuming I would have run a 15k in 2020. As of this writing my thoughts are that if I go virtual I will stick with the 15k plan; I would rather run the half marathon in person since that is my apex running goal.

Mental Health (aka Get Organized)

Everyone’s mental health suffered from 2020. Anyone that denies it is lying to themselves. It will be a few months before we start to see improvements in the current pandemic but we can begin to heal our mental health. The methods for doing this will be different for every person. Personally I am going to do it by getting organized. There have been studies that show getting organized has been known to improve sleep and reduce stress and anxiety.

When I was in college I was a bit of a clean freak; it seems now I’ve become to lazy to be that person but I can change that. I can let my OCD take over again and clean more often. There are places around the house that can use the “get organized” treatment. However, getting organized isn’t just a physical activity. I use my iPad to take a lot of notes (because my memory is garbage); those notes need to be re-organized for brevity and searchability. This will help me be better organized at work.

Finally I need to ignore or remove the toxicity and vitriolic abuse of social media. Everyone treats Facebook and Twitter like its their pulpit for political and controversial influence. The truth you’re not changing anybody’s mind because everyone is braver behind a keyboard. I’m tired of going to these places and getting angry because people spew nonsense so I will be frequenting Twitter less and blocking/hiding/muting posts/people on Facebook that say things with the clear intent of inciting violence or hate.

Again, this post grows most verbose so time to end it here.



I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!


Race to Wrigley Charity Run 2020

Completing any race has been extremely challenging this year, for obvious reasons. All the usual races I run were postponed and ultimately cancelled (i.e. Red Legs and The Flying Pig). I have always wanted to run the Race to Wrigley Charity Race but I could never arrange to make the drive to Chicago. So I was very excited when I found out I could complete the race, virtually, this year. While I won’t be finishing inside the Friendly Confines, I’m still glad to have the opportunity to participate.

The race is only a 5K and I run farther than that 5 days a week, during my lunch hour, so this is a fairly easy race for me. Since this is for charity I feel that I needed to do something to try to make this a challenge. I decided that I wasn’t going to be lazy and submit one of my normal workouts. Instead I suited up and completed the 5K on a Saturday morning.

My total run time was 35:57, which is just under a 12 minute mile. Considering some of the hills I had to tackle on the route I chose, I’d say that’s pretty good.

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

It’s Time For A Fitness Update

It's Time for a Fitness UpdateIt’s been a while since I regaled you with my fitness efforts so it’s time for a fitness update. I believe the last time I wrote about it was my “Bad Idea Birthday Run” challenge. The COVID has created new challenges for staying in shape. Stress and quarantine create the perfect storm for indulging in snacks, desserts and vegging on the couch. It’s a huge motivation killer.

I don’t know how other people are managing, especially when gyms were closed. Personally, I never went to a gym because 1) I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for a membership and 2) I’m too introverted to workout in front of strangers. Be that as it may, I’m still maintaining a consistent workout during these crazy times.

Going The Distance

I haven’t had any spikes in weight gain, on the other hand I haven’t had any record weight loss either. In fact I’m more or less maintaining my weight. Granted that’s far better than consistently gaining weight. I am, officially, running 5+ miles a day and I’ve run 8+ miles at least twice on my push days during this pandemic. If you do the math there, that means I have run a combined 13.1 miles (aka a half marathon) over two consecutive days. I’m honestly thinking about just skipping the Flying Pig this year and just push for the Half Marathon in 2021.

As I said, the current state of the world has really negatively impacted my motivation. Sudden changes in my daily routine makes me quite uncomfortable and stressed. It’s been a Catch 22; running reduces stress but I’ve been too stressed to run. Now that summer is officially here that means heat and humidity which makes running especially difficult. Despite all that I’m still trying to run 5 days a week (I might miss a day or two depending on weather and other curve balls). At the time of this post I’m at least 63% of the way done with my Walk to Mordor challenge and I suspect that is a little behind my progress at this time last year.

I feel my motivation slowing returning but with the brunt of the summer upon us it begs the question, how long will it last? Enduring the heat is a challenging obstacle. Time to dig deep!

How have your fitness goals been during the COVID, before the gyms reopened?


I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!


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