David and Goliath Book Review

David&Goliath

I recently finished listening to an audiobook version of Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. The nonfiction piece focuses on how being an underdog can occasionally confer advantages that the “overdog” doesn’t expect.

The book uses a wide-range of examples of underdogs overcoming their disadvantages and actually using them as jumping off points to topple bigger and stronger opponents.

This isn’t a new idea to me or the world. Scholars were peddling this theory at least 1,500 years ago when the Roman Empire fell. I first read about it in Frank Herbert’s science fiction masterpiece, Dune, where the fictional race of Freman are hardened by their desert homeland and are able to overcome the forces of the Padishah Emperor. Continue reading

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Hardcore History

A couple weekends ago I went home for a birthday party for my wife’s maid of honor.

Most of our friends still live in an area around our hometown, so when we visit them my wife and I visit them we inevitably end up visiting our families as well.

While there her dad told me about a podcast series called Hardcore History.

For awhile I’d been looking for something to listen to on my car rides to Sac State. Music gets old pretty quick for me, talk radio is too political, and NPR is way too varied in their topics to be consistently interesting to me.

In the past when I’m driving, cleaning, or some other long boring chore I’ve listened to a lecture series put out by the Teaching Company.

My dad gets the lecture series and shares them with me. My favorites are lectures on Greek and Roman classics, but eventually I listened to nearly everything the Teaching Company offered on those topics.

I got a few things from the library, but its difficult to find the perfect audio book to listen to.

My father-in-law’s suggestion turned out to be spot on. Each podcast of Hardcore History is immense. I’m listening to a four hour one now on the fall of the Roman Empire.

The podcasts are also extremely varied. Before the Fall of Rome there was an episode on the events leading up to the Red Scare in the USA.

Plus, the podcasts are free! At least the most recent ones are. The older ones are $2 each and all the older ones can be purchased at a discount.

Hardcore History podcasts don’t come out very often. On average there is a new episode every three months. Eventually I’ll catch up and be without free episodes. I’ll decide to buy the older episodes at that point. No need to rush myself yet.

Either way, the episodes are pretty cool. Dan Carlin is a great storyteller who goes to great lengths to draw parallels between the historical period he’s talking about to the modern world. Quotes from source material are used in the lecture to back up Carlin’s interpretation of events.

The podcasts are quite long, which isn’t for everyone. Plus, Carlin doesn’t know how to keep his voice at a constant level. Every few minutes I need to adjust the volume on my speakers because he’s shouting or whispering.

I’ve had a lot of fun listening to the podcasts. If you’re into history you should try them out! My father-in-law said so!

-Mister Ed

Exercise Regime

7:30? Time to do some calisthenics!
7:30? Time to do some calisthenics!

Two weeks ago I started a simple exercise routine to build muscle slowly without going to the gym.

I don’t need to exercise to stay healthy. Somehow my body remains thin and wonderful no matter what I eat.

I only like exercise when its fun or when I can get something tangible out of it.

Exercising for fun is doing stuff like playing sports, running around on a playground (I’m 23 and I still do this. Get over it), or swimming.

I exercise for fun occasionally, but I don’t have a routine of doing fun exercise.

I’m afraid that if I make it a routine that I’ll start disliking fun types of exercise because “I have to do them.”

Fortunately I don’t need to exercise to stay healthy yet. My heart rate is perfectly fine as well being 80bpm at rest and as low as 40bpm after I’ve recovered from exercise (my heart is weird). Part of this is probably because I bike to work everyday.

Still, there’s the added benefit that some types of exercise build muscle mass. I’ve always wanted to get stronger so I can look hot for my wife.

I tried going to the gym, but that was super boring unless I listened to lectures on Greek and Roman classics. But then I ran out of lectures.

So how do you build muscle mass without going to the gym?

Lots of pushups and situps!

So two weeks ago I decided I would do 20 pushups and situps everyday.

If I successfully completed that many then next week I would increase the number by 5 to 25 pushups and situps.

If I completed the week again, then I’d increase the number again.

I missed a few of the days my first week because I wasn’t used to the routine yet, but once I set an alarm on my phone it became easy to remember.

I’ve completed a week successfully and both pushups and situps have increased to 25 per day.

I’m curious how high I can get the numbers. My record for pushups is 37 in a row. I’ve found that the limitation on how many situps I can do has more to do with boredom than exhaustion.

Maybe once the numbers get high enough I’ll have to mix it up a little bit by doing one handed pushups or something.

If you’d like, comment with what your exercise routine is!

-Mister Ed