Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Gains

So I’ve completed the first phase of my training for the powerlifting competition. My training consisted of working each of deadlift, back squat, and bench press to see if I could increase my theoretical 1 rep max. In the first week of this phase, I found my 3 rep max by testing out heavier and heavier weights until I found the maximum amount that I could lift 3 times in a row. From that, I calculated what my theoretical 1 rep max would be (using a handy dandy online calculator like this one). Then, for the following four weeks, I lifted a percentage of that max for 8 reps, then 6 reps, then 3-5 reps, and finally 2-3 reps this week.

Here are my 3 rep maxes from my first week and my theoretical 1 rep maxes calculated from those 3 rep maxes:

Exercise3 rep maxTheoretical 1 rep max
Deadlift80 kg84.7 kg
Back Squat75 kg79.4 kg
Bench Press45.5 kg48.2 kg

And here are the amounts I lifted for 2 reps this week, along with my theoretical 1 rep maxes calculated from them and the % change from my first week:

Exercise2 rep maxTheoretical 1 rep max% increase
Deadlift87.5 kg90 kg6%
Back Squat85 kg87.5 kg10%
Bench Press46 kg47.3 kg-2%

So that last one is a bit puzzling. I’m pretty certain that I didn’t lose strength over 5 weeks of training my bench press. I definitely feel like I’m stronger! I’m guessing that because I wasn’t actually testing to find my 2 rep max, but was just taking a guess at what I’d be able to lift for 2 reps, I must have underestimated my strength and chosen something that was less than what I could really lift for 2 reps. Though to be honest, that 46 kg felt really freaking heavy.

But look at the gains on my deadlift and squat!

And I still have 22 more days to train! I’m starting the next phase of my program on Sunday. So excited!

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A bunch of my goals for 2019 were related to getting my condo more organized. I had very high hopes that I’d be all handy and DIY-y this year and I would:

  • build a closet organizer in the front hall closet
  • build a closet organizer in the pantry closet
  • install a lazy Susan in each of the two corner cabinets in the kitchen
  • paint the inside of both the front hall closet and the office closet

I eventually came to accept that I just do not have the time to do these things and that my life would be much improved by being able to actually reach all the things that are in my kitchen cabinets and not have all my coats falling off the broken front hall closet coat rack. So I bit the bullet and called the guy who installed my closet door and closet organizer in my spare room last year and he knocked the first three of those things off of my “to do” list for me. I decided that I want to do the painting of the inside of the closets myself (with the leftover paint from last year’s painting project) and I figure can do that when I have some time off in December.

Here’s what my front hall closet looked like before:

Front hall closet - before
Front hall closet - before

Notice the wire rack that the coats are hanging on is broken on the right side, that the internet-related devices and all of their various cords and tangled mess on top of that wire shelf, and that shoes and other crap are all piled in a heap at the bottom of the closet.

Here’s what the closet looked like after:

Closet - after
Closet - after

Notice how there’s a proper rod to hang coats on and also a reasonably sized pile of crap on the bottom. In fairness, we did take the opportunity to go through all the stuff that was in the closet and divert some of it to donations (for the things that were still usable) or to the garbage (for things that were unsalvageable). But part of it was having a proper shelf to put stuff on (you can’t really see it well in the photo, but under the coats there is a shelf that that we could put things on). Also, all the various internet devices are now attached to the wall, so they don’t take up valuable shelf space:

Front hall closet -  after

Next up was the pantry cupboard. This cupboard, where we mostly store Tupperware and various other food containers, was rather infuriating .

Pantry - before

And here’s what it looked like after:

Pantry - after

You can’t tell from the photos, but those old wire shelves were about 4 inches less deep than the new shelves, so we’ve got quite a bit more shelf space now1. We also sorted through all the stuff in the various locations and took some of the stuff that was in here that we don’t use very often and have stored it elsewhere.

And lastly we have the kitchen cabinets. I have two corner cabinets in my kitchen that are quite deep and trying to get anything out of them was a complete nightmare. I’m pretty sure these cabinets defy the laws of physics, as no matter what item you want, it is always, somehow, buried underneath all the other objects and way at the back of the cabinet. Which resulted in the cabinet with all the pots and pans and various other cookware looking like this:

Kitchen cupboard - before

The second of these cabinets was used mostly for food (but also for baking sheets and cooling racks) and while it didn’t end up with everything all upside and turned around like the other cabinet, it was still a nightmare to try to get stuff out of – or even to see what stuff I had, which may or may not have resulted in me having 3 different bottles of apple cider vinegar and several opened boxes of lasagna noodles.

Kitchen cupboard - before

The sensible way of designing these cabinets, of course, is to have a lazy Susan in them, so that you can spin the shelf to find what you want rather than trying to reach all the way to the back. So we got a lazy Susan installed in each and now here’s what they looked like :

Kitchen cupboard with pots and pans - after
Kitchen cupboard with food - after

The picture doesn’t totally do justice to how much of an improvement this is to my life.

Also, while all of this was being done, we had to take everything that was in the front hall closet, the pantry closet, and the two kitchen cabinets out of those locations and store them in living room. And I just have to say that I was astonished by how much storage room my condo actually has, as just the stuff from these 4 places2 pretty much filled up my entire living room:

We had to empty out all the closets and cupboards that were being worked on
We had to empty out all the closets and cupboards that were being worked on

and my dining area:

We had to empty out all the closets and cupboards that were being worked on

So that’s definitely a selling feature I’m going to have to remember if I ever decide to sell this place.

Anyway that knocks three items off my 2019 goals list, which is nice because it’s already freaking November so the year is almost up!

And it makes my day-to-day life just that much more pleasant, which is pretty great too!

  1. You can also see that the white bins we use for recylcing at the bottom of the closet got considerably more filled up between the “before” and “after” photos. []
  2. My condo also has a walk through closet in the main bedroom, a closet in the spare room, and a storage locker in the parkade! []

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Halloween 2019

I was having trouble deciding what to be for Halloween this year and then my office announced that they’d picked a theme for the annual costume contest: horror movies. I figured that would help me as it would narrow down my options. But as I thought about it, most of the iconic horror movie characters are male: Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Pinhead, Chucky, Dracula, Frankenstein, Jack Nicholson in the Shining. The first two female characters that popped to mind were sidekicks to males: Bride of Chucky and Bride of Frankenstein, and I wanted to be something that was more her own character. I did consider Carrie and one of the twin girls from The Shining, but felt the latter was really a costume that required a partner. I started Googling for ideas and saw a movie that came out quite a while ago that I really liked: Corpse Bride. Yes, I realize that she’s also a bride, but at least she wasn’t labeled as the bride of someone – she just happened to have been murdered on her wedding day.

So I set off to the thrift shops to find either a pink prom dress to be Carrie or a wedding-like dress to be Corpse Bride. After going to FOUR different Value Villages, I finally found what I was after. Well, I did find some actual wedding dresses at the first few Value Villages I went to, but they were a bit more expensive than I wanted to spent on a Halloween costume. And also I was creeped out at the thought of buying someone’s actual wedding dress at a Value Village1. As an aside, if anyone is looking for a super cheap wedding dress, you can find them at Value Village in the range of $50-$200, which is pretty cheap for a wedding dress!

I ended up settling on two dresses in fact – there was one dress that had a good top but was too short to be convincing as a wedding dress and another that was long enough (but not too bulky), but the top of it was too small for me – I couldn’t zip it up due to the size of my back and shoulders from my weightlifting. So I just zipped that dress up to the waist and put the other dress on top. As a bonus, the short dress is totally wearable as a summer dress for me – and together they cost me less than $20.

The hard part of the costume was the makeup. I decided to go full on with body paint and do the blue skin and huge cartoon character eyes and paint a skeleton arm because the Corpse Bride has a skeleton arm. She also has a skeleton leg but I didn’t bother to paint that because my long dress would cover it and also just doing the face and arms took long enough.

My sister told me about the unknown-to-me world of makeup tutorials on YouTube (my niece is a teenager, so my sister knows about such things) and I found this video that I followed to do my makeup. And then I found this other video that I used to paint my skeleton arm.

I had to get up at 5:30 am to put on all this makeup – you have to do a few coats and you have to let stuff dry before you can paint other stuff. And there was a whole production about getting my dress on with the minimal amount of damage to my paint. In the end, I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Corpse Bride at the office
Here I am at my desk at work
Corpse Bride at the office
The skeleton arm was my favourite part.

The worst part was that the makeup crumbled throughout the day, so I had to do some touch ups and I left a trail of makeup crumbs wherever I went. I’m sure the cleaning people weren’t too pleased that evening.

In addition to wearing this to work, I also wore it to the gym, as my gym does a costume contest too. Here I am doing a chinup:

Corpse Bride chinups
Corpse Bride chinups

All in all, I was pretty happy with the costume and I got lots of compliments on both the look and the dedication that it took to wear body paint all day. But I’m pretty sure that I won’t be doing another costume involving body paint for a very long time! I’m trying to convince my team at work that we should do a team costume next year. They seemed pretty enthused by the idea when they saw the costume that one of the other teams at work put together: they dressed up at Costco! The same team the previous year dressed up as the Price is Right. So we are going to come up with some kick ass idea of a team costume for Halloween 2020. If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears!