Classes are no longer in session…

June 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Which means that I’ve got to get my life in order. Mainly, I need to start blogging again (it provides me with the sanity required to successfully pull a productive 18-hour day). I also need to get back in shape (work in progress). With that in mind, one of the hardest body parts to target are the obliques. I’ve dug up a bit if information on how to work ’em:

There’s tons of oblique workouts on Livestrong.com. Here are my favorites:

Stability Ball Twist

Start by lying face up with the stability ball in the center of your back, feet on the floor and knees at a 90 degree angle. Hold a medicine ball in your hands and extend your arms straight toward the ceiling. Keep your butt stationary on the ball and rotate your torso, while keeping your arms straight and extended, until your knuckles are pointed toward the wall. Repeat on the other side. Do three sets of eight cycles. A cycle means going from the center, to the left, to the center, to the right and back to the center again.

Start with your feet on the stability ball and your arms holding you in a push-up position. Make sure your body makes a straight line from your head to your toes. Bring the ball in toward your right shoulder by bending your knees. This will result in your body being curled up on top of the ball. Repeat this move on your left side. Do three sets of eight on each side.

Medicine-Ball Twist

Start laying on the floor as if you are about to do a normal sit up. Extend your arms over your head on the floor holding a medicine ball. Crunch, or sit up a little, twist and cross the medicine ball over your body so it ends up next to your right hip. Lay back down and repeat on the other side. Do three sets of eight on each side.

Bicycle

Lay on your back as if you are about to do a sit up, then raise your feet so that your calves make a 90 degree angle with your thighs. Put your hands behind your head. Twist your torso so that your right shoulder comes toward your left knee. At the same time bring your left knee in slightly and extend your right leg as if you are peddling a bicycle. Repeat this with your left shoulder coming toward your right knee. Make sure you are actually twisting your torso and not just moving your elbows toward your knees. Do three sets of 10 on each side.

Plank Twist

Start in a plank position. The plank position is the same position you start in before doing a push up. First, lie on your stomach. Then push yourself up so that your arms are straight with your hands on the ground. Your body should make a straight line from your shoulders to your toes. Twist your knees toward the right side so that your hips are almost facing the wall and straighten your legs. Hold the position for three seconds, bring your knees back to the middle and then twist them to the left side. Repeat this 10 times and do three sets.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/166799-good-workouts-to-get-rid-of-love-handles/#ixzz1OHk4in6E

Oblique Knee Raises

Hang from a pull-up bar to do oblique knee raises. Grasp the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip and let your legs hang straight. Pull your knees up and toward your right shoulder. Hold for a second, lower your legs and repeat to your left side. Alternate back and forth in a steady motion until you’ve done 15 to 20 reps with each side.

Side Crunches (Stability Ball)

Execute a set of side crunches on a stability ball. Position your right hip near the top of the ball, stagger your feet on the floor and place your hands on the sides of your head. Bend laterally over the ball, bend back up by contracting your obliques and repeat. Do a set of 15 to 20 reps and switch sides. Brace your feet against a wall if you are off balance.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/183427-how-to-get-rid-of-love-handles-quickly/#ixzz1OHgNkHho

Funky Pilates Move

Target the oblique muscles underneath your love handles with a Pilates’-inspired move. Sit with your legs extended in front of you, gripping a weighted ball or dumbbell with both hands, holding the weight at shoulder height in front of you. Bend your knees and lift your legs toward your chest. Stop when your thighs and torso are in a “V” position. Twist your torso to your left side, return to the center, then switch to your right side. Lower your legs and arms to your starting position. Repeat three times.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/374560-how-to-get-rid-of-love-handles-with-workouts/#ixzz1OHhInzE1

Windshield Wipers

Execute a set of windshield wipers. Lie on your back and lift your legs straight above you so your body is bent 90 degrees. Lower your legs down to your right side, then lift them up and lower them down to your left. Alternate back and forth in a smooth and steady fashion.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/92882-rid-love-handles-back/#ixzz1OHhlIR5F

Side Plank Raises

Perform a set of side plank raises. Lie on your left side with your feet stacked on top of each other. Place your left forearm flat on the ground, perpendicular to your body and directly under your shoulder. Place your right hand on your side and lift your hips up in the air as far as you can. Lower your body down to a point right above the floor and repeat. Do a set and switch sides. Make sure you keep your hips in line with your shoulders the whole time and focus on using your oblique muscles to do the exercise.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/92882-rid-love-handles-back/#ixzz1OHi7sDc9

You can also try interval training (30-90 seconds high intensity activity such as sprinting, 30-90 second “rest” period of lighter activity such as jogging or walking), which helps kill calories faster than normal cardiovascular activities.

Obliques

Obliques

Underclassmen: if you see me in the back of Shelly’s or Brister’s class in Tribble next year, just don’t say anything. I’m in complete denial of any events that occurred on or around May 16, 2011.

2:34am. I’m out.

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SLS AMG: A real beaut.

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is, undoubtedly, an amazing vehicle.  Of course, as with any worthy car, Top Gear has this beast featured in one of their episodes (click here for the full Top Gear episode).  While it is evident from the video that perhaps the handling of the car isn’t quite like it’s track-bred competitors (GT3 RS Porsche and Ferrari 458 Italia), the car still retains exactly what Mr. Clarkson and I both love about Mercedes-Benz: a refined, yet ferocious, sense of luxury.  This is especially clear after taking a look at the interior of this lovely machine (below), which is appropriately named the “cockpit” of the SLS.

 

Mercedes SLS AMG Front Tilt

Take a moment to admire.

 

Gullwings Extended

(Gull)Wings extended.

 

SLS "Cockpit"

SLS "Cockpit"

If you talk the talk, be able to walk the walk.

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

A tweet sent by UNC’s chancellor, Holden Thorp, is taking off in the blogosphere.  Thought I would add my two-cents before I start studying for this massive Spanish Literature test.  And here it is: http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/spp+50.

Dear Chancellor Thorp: before you talk about how great and intellectual your students are, make sure you can back up what you say(/tweet).  Oh, and Duke: please take out any aggression that may have resulted from this untimely statement on the court tonight.  Looking forward to a good game.

The World is sinking…

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

This post is an update to  an earlier post that I wrote, detailing the financial predicament Dubai has created for itself.  In that same article, I referenced “The World” (Islands) that Dubai has also created.  It has become apparent that these islands have started eroding and sinking.   This is clearly a unique situation.  A chain of man-made islands, created by dredging sand from the bottom of the ocean to the surface, is once again finding its way back to the bottom of the ocean.  The various owners of these islands, such as Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie, and Safi Quarashi, may soon have to face the reality of this sunk cost.

Resolved.

January 1, 2011 Leave a comment

This year, I will do both of the following:

  1. Find ways to boost and maintain a constantly high (and productive) level of energy
  2. Continue my workout plan (3 weeks, so far).

That is all.  Realism defeats idealism (if I can discover a way to combat procrastination, I will).

Seven Semesters: A balancing act.

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment

The fact that I graduate in five months is mind-blowing.  In fact, I am a bit panicked right now trying to think of ways to make next semester worthwhile.  Throughout the past seven semesters, I have realized this: college is not all about grades, books, and the GPA game. Nor is it about non-stop partying, as the misguided Asher Roth tried to convey in his hit song, “I Love College.”  It is, however, about balancing academics with extracurriculars and trying to throw in a social agenda where it can fit.  Oh…and finding time to do laundry (clean clothes are important).

As one New York Times article astutely points out, ‘the promise of “Go to college, get good grades and then get a job,” isn’t working the way it once did.’   Students must push hard to not only make good grades, but also to become devout members of campus organizations, avid supporters of community endeavors, and leaders of any and all worthwhile pursuits.  All to prove to potential employers that they are indeed worthy of being hired.

Most college students decide to incorporate at least one or two non-academic activities into their busy schedules.  I recently read a U.S. News & World Report article which outlines the top ten paid job experiences that any college student can have in order to prepare for a “real-world” job.  While I do not have “real-world” job experience as of yet, I do believe that certain jobs and positions that I have held throughout college have bolstered my résumé in a way that appeals to potential employers.  I can only hope that these activities have also offset my less than spectacular undergraduate GPA,(which, unlike that of students at some schools, most likely did not incorporate any sort of inflation) especially since they played a large part in its downtrodden fate.

Some of the jobs listed in the U.S. News & World Report article, such as working as a bank teller, seem a bit difficult for an actual (inexperienced) college student to obtain.  However, some of the jobs that are listed are fairly easy to secure (particularly at the school which I attend) and are also very helpful for the “real world,” in my opinion.  For example, the slide show that accompanies the U.S. News article mentions that being an On-Campus Tour Guide is one of the best jobs that a student can hold.  I must point out that at my school, being a tour guide is not a paid position.  The students that partake in giving tours do so out of a shared passion for our Mother, so dear.  Clearly, being a tour guide has many advantages.  First and foremost, I believe that my experience as a tour guide has allowed me to appreciate the history and traditions that create the fabric of life at Wake Forest.  I know many facts and figures which my colleagues do not (such as Tribble having bomb-shelter built into the basement).  From a less personal perspective, being a tour guide has taught me, among other things, to publicly share my college experience.  I am able to share the positive and the negative about Wake Forest with prospective students and their families with hopes of providing a true glimpse of what life at the Forest is like.  I have received many e-mails and fielded numerous telephone questions from prospective students who have toured the campus at some point or another, asking why they should attend Wake Forest over X, Y, or Z University.  I have never been able to give these prospective students a firm answer since I have not attended any other school, but I have always been able to succinctly explain why I chose Wake Forest and why I believe the school would be a fit for each of these inquisitive (not to mention worried) students.  The answer is never the same, since each student is unique.  This ability, to encapsulate more than three years of my life into just a few concise statements, is invaluable.  Students don’t want to hear about why I love every nook and cranny of our beautiful campus, or a detailed list of why our academics are superior to other schools.  They want quick, hard facts that will be helpful in making their final decision on where to spend the next four years of their life.  Similarly, employers (especially in the legal field) dislike “fluff” in any sort of conversation or writing.  Most “higher-ups” have very little time to read between the lines and prefer a black & white answer to any questions they may have (for example, regarding an report conducted by an analysts).  Additionally, being a tour guide has helped me learn how to think on the fly in a major way.  As you can imagine, tour guides get asked very interesting questions, especially from parents.  Being able to successfully field these questions while keeping cool takes quite a bit of skill (imagine having to answer, “Do students get away with underage drinking on campus?” in front of 30 strangers, 17 of whom are adults).  Being caught off guard is something all veteran tour guides are accustomed to, and answering an unexpected question becomes an opportunity rather than a burden.  Finally, I’m sure that my future employers will be glad to know that I can walk my entire campus backwards, unlike many of my peers.

Supposedly, public speaking is a very large fear for many people.  Extracurriculars are a great way to target and overcome this fear, if it’s one that is on your list. Something that I actually started doing in high school and continued in college has really helped acquiesce this fear for me.  That activity, Mock Trial, is one that I support whole-heartedly.  Not only does Mock Trial help with learning how to eloquently address unfamiliar individuals, but it also provides a great insight to the world of trial law.  Though there are many aspects which are different between Mock Trial and actual trial practice, one of the staples which binds the two worlds is the use of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which all collegiate competitors must be familiar with.  Knowing these rules is only the tip of the iceberg.  One must be able to successfully apply and manipulate the rules under stressful competition conditions in order to be a successful competitor.  For attorneys, arguing and overcoming objections improves spontaneous and creative thinking and also helps develop a true grasp of the rules.  While bolstering knowledge of the litigation process and helping individuals conquer glossophobia, Mock Trial also teaches participants that individual hard work can result in significant gains for a group.  Mock Trial practices at WFU are generally two hours each and are held at least twice per week.  This effectively adds the extra course load of one class to each members’ schedule, assignments included.  Since teams are scored collectively, each member must put forth his or her greatest effort to prepare in order to succeed at tournaments.  This being the case, the level of preparation for each individual directly correlates with the success or defeat of the entire team.  Since many professionals spend time working with others and working in groups, it seems that this aspect of Mock Trial should be advantageous in the “real world.”  Overall, Mock Trial has been my favorite extracurricular activity throughout college, and I expect that I will take a lot away from it when I begin working in August 2011.

Another great experience is to become deeply involved with any campus organization.  Learning how an organization works and devoting oneself to that organization shows employers something they always look for: dedication.  But more specifically, any sort of leadership role in an organization is probably most helpful for résumé padding purposes.  Hopefully potential employers will at least raise an eyebrow when they see the leadership roles I’ve had in various organizations on campus.  Why would they?  First, they know that it takes a LOT to (successfully)  lead an organization composed primarily of college students, whether that organization has ten members or 100.  Planning events, scheduling meetings, and implementing goals and policies are all actually all very stressful and difficult executions, as any campus leader will tell you.  Additionally, being a leader requires a lot of compromise.  The president of an organization may want to lead the organization down one path, while the vice president may want to go down a completely different one.  This being the case, the two must come to a consensus on what is best for the success of the organization (this is a very simple example; usually scenarios are much more complex).  Evaluating the long-term goals of an organization and working alongside others to achieve those goals is a great lesson I learned through my involvement with the executive board of Mock Trial during my senior year in college.  Some of my friends have also expressed that it is necessary to “go the extra mile” if you are heavily involved with an organization, whether you are in a formal leadership position or not.  This requirement portrays a glimpse of the hard work that is necessary to excel in the “real world.” It can also help an individual explore areas that he or she may be interested in pursuing after graduating.

This is probably the longest post that I’ve created so far on this blog.  I think it’s fitting.  College is a milestone.  It’s wild to reflect on how much I’ve grown throughout college and how far I’ve come from being just another kid in a small town (all thanks to my parents, of course).  The most important thing to do during these four years, which is almost inevitable in college, is to put yourself out there and get involved.  If you don’t like something, you’ll know that for the future.  However, if you never give it a shot, you’ll never know if it could have been your home-run.

Busy, busy

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment

With classes having started and campus activities back in full swing, it’s odd that I’m now picking this blog back up after months of idleness. I guess I see it as sort of an outlet for stress. Today’s blog contribution is actually a poster that I bought for my room. It’s a piece by Dalí, called Swans Reflecting Elephants. It’s included below. Check it out, and hopefully you’ll appreciate it as much as I do. I can’t wait for the 36″x24″ poster to get here. The Dalí poster is one of four that I bought to complement the world map that’s already in my room. I’m not sure if they will all fit, but we’ll see!