Saturday, March 28, 2015


 What do you do to stop it?  What do you do to reverse it?

In the beginning of Spring Quarter, 1993, I tore my left ACL.  A few weeks later, in April, I had surgery to replace the torn ligament.  I spent two months on crutches, as well as months with various braces, wraps, and supports.  Months of physical therapy ensued to rebuild, both the replacement parts and the surrounding and supporting bits that had shrunk while not being used.  By the end of the summer, I was cycling with a brace.  By the Fall, I was able to play a bit of volleyball.  For years, my mom would say that my left leg was thinner than my right.  Still atrophied, but improved.

In the late 90s, I started running.  Kept cycling.  Since then, I've continued to run and ride.  I've had a few injuries that have sidelined me, forced me to take time off.  Sometimes, those injuries have involved physical therapy to recover, often exposing various muscles that were weaker than those around them.  Exercises to build up the weak muscles and recover from injury, allowing the running and riding to continue.  

Lots of things atrophy.



Technical skills.

Years ago, I did system administration work.  MacOS, Solaris, Windows.  Troubleshooting methodology remains, but certainly not the details.

Later, I did a number of storage related tasks -- SAN, NAS, WAFS.  Installation, configuration, benchmarking, troubleshooting, tuning.  Could I tell you how to set up a port-to-port zone configuration with the storage, switches, and HBAs that we used?  No, I'd have to review the documentation and spend some time coming back up to speed.  Some of the methodologies remain with me today -- that zoning restricts where the traffic goes, less noise is good, dedicated signal is good, don’t bend the fibre cables too much.  Benchmarking ideas and methodologies.  

How do you pick which skills are important to maintain?  How do we maintain those that aren't part of the day to day?

In school, I learned a bit of lisp, ml, and a handful of others for a comparative languages course.  I spent at least a quarter in Fortran, Pascal, 3b2 assembly.  
We learned assembly.  I knew assembly – registers, stacks.  I don't know assembly now.  I don't know those other languages either.

I've spent years in each of Java, Perl, C++.  Programming.  Algorithms are still algorithms, speed still comes from understanding O(n) is better than O(n ln n) is better than O(n**2).  The language specifics fade out.  

How do you hold on?  What do you hold on to?

For running and cycling, for these physical activities, it’s easy.  Full body workout, emphasis on the supporting muscles for the primary pursuits of running and cycling.  Don’t neglect the weak areas.

For technical areas, it's a little harder.  Algorithms, TDD, Scrum, these can follow to the new pursuit.  

How do you maintain, how do you know which are important to hold on to?

Atrophy happens to everyone, in lots of ways.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

News for an eight year old...

This morning I was chatting with our eight year old before school.  The Washington Post had a Leprechaun on their app image on his Kindle, and he made a comment about the image.  I was more than a bit surprised that he was looking at The Washington Post.

Really?  You look at the Washington Post?

Yes.  I like to read the comics.

The Washington Post has comics?


I look at the sports section too, but they don't have baseball.

Its only March.  Baseball hasn't started yet.

They should cover spring training.

Uhm...  OK.  Maybe they should.

It would appear we need to add an application that lets him get baseball news on his Kindle.  Also more comics.

I don't recall following baseball at eight years old, but I certainly read the comics.  We gave up on receiving a physical paper years ago.  I'm glad he's got the opportunity with an app to read some daily comics.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fifty-eight days

Usually, the time between my run workouts is measured in days.  One day.  Two days.  This time, "months" would be a better unit of measure.  It had been almost two months since I last ran.  Eight weeks.  Fifty-eight days.

Today, I ran.

Short and mellow.

Heart rate limited by alerts set on my Garmin.  I've used a Garmin for lots of training in the past - intervals, HR, pace, cadence alerts, but this month I'll be using it to stay mellow and to turn around when I reach the mileage goal.

Hot and dry, more typical of August than March, it was 90F at run time.  I'd say it was unusually warm, except the record of 93F was set last year on this date.

Will I be sore?  Will there be follow on pain? When will I run again?