Couple of Pittsburgh Steelers Updates

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Posted on 29th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in In The News | Sports Commentary

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It’s always great to see the Steelers put so much emphasis on getting their rookies signed ahead of camp (at this point, only Maurkice Pouncey is unsigned).  The last rookie not to be signed in front of training camp … Mr. Wreckless With His Wanker himself, Ben Roethlisberger.  He missed 4 days of camp in what really wasn’t an ugly holdout or anything.  Still, given the effort the Steelers put into getting their rookies into camp right from the start, and followed with the numerous newsworthy items to come from Roethlisberger since… kinda makes you want to wonder a bit.

Colbert’s extension is yet another reinforcement of keeping things strong from the inside of the organization out.  It’s hard to vote against him, what with the Steelers going 103 – 56 – 1 while he’s been in his position, since 2000.  Most importantly, that stint includes two Super Bowl Championships and what most consider to be one of the classiest operations in the league.

Finishing up with Flozell… actually this could be one of the biggest ‘under-the-radar’ (can a 6-7 340 lb guy fit under the radar?) signings of the offseason for any team.  After tackle Willie Colon was placed on injured reserve, officially ending his season after he tore his Achilles tendon in June, the Steelers were in need of an experienced tackle.  Flozell was available after Dallas decided to cut loose the aging mammoth lineman and it will be interesting to see just how much Adams has left in his Silverado sized fuel tank.  He should be able to step right in and start at tackle from day one and shore up that need for the upcoming season.  It’s my guess, though, that age will become a factor towards the end of the season and he will probably be more of a depth player in the second year of the contract after either Colon returns or the team drafts youth into the position if Colon cannot get back to 100%.

Weight Loss & Fitness Pursuit – First Weigh-In

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Posted on 19th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


Okay so this is the first Monday following our first week of our newly found active spirit and it’s time for me to weigh in to start tracking the data.  My goal is to step on the scale every Monday morning to see where I’m at.  I’ll store the data in Excel and generate a line chart just for kicks.

So, today I step on the scale and… 227 lbs.  That’s my starting point.  I know I’ve been both lighter than that and heavier than that within the past few months but this is the official number I’m using after apparently putting on a number of pounds in just the previous month or two.  That’s pretty nasty, really.  A great weight if I was a fullback for a college football team – don’t I wish!  Not such a great weight when just a couple of months ago I was 209 and heading below that… and that without a regular exercise program in place at the time.

I’m actually guessing that I may stay at that weight for a week or so while I work out.  Considering how out of shape I am I’m not physically able to work out with any gusto for more than about 40 minutes in any single workout before being exhausted.  Plus, I would expect that I might gain muscle back that I have clearly lost and replaced with a squishier, jigglier substance, and that muscle will be more dense and heavy.  We’ll see, but I don’t think I can burn off enough fat during this early stage of working out to lose a lot on the scale in short order.  I’m okay with that, as long as I am getting back into shape and can accomplish more while running, exercising and lifting.

And, with that, I’m off!

Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk Results

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Posted on 19th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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The results from yesterday’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk were posted, today.  They broke down the results by just about every category you would want; be it male/female or age group.  As I had written in my race recap, yesterday, They also had given us all a chip to attach to our shoes which allows everyone to get a specific time on their run, rather than just a gun time.  So I was able to see exactly how I stacked up against the rest of the race participants.

Here are The results of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk.  If you click on the male age group of 30-34 you will see my result – in all of it’s baseline glory.  There were 16 participants in my age group and I finished dead last.  My chip time (so the total time it took my chip to cross both the starting line and the finish line) was 40:21 – yikes.  That’s over 40 minutes to travel 3 miles by jogging and walking.  I finished 187th out of 234… Let’s cut this short and just say there’s a lot of room for improvement.  This was pretty much the exact baseline I thought I would see but needed confirmed.  I am way out of shape and need to keep this effort in the forefront of my mind at all times, right now.

Every day I am asking myself, the following questions:

  • Is today one of the minimum 5 days this week where I work out?
  • What will I do for my work out?
  • When will I work out?

… and while that doesn’t sound like much, it’s a big step forward.  That’s the first and last time I ever finish last in anything that I try – period.

Completed The Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk Today!

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Posted on 18th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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This morning I participated in the 2010 Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk in University Circle.  There were two events: The first was a 5K run/walk for adults and children and the second was a 1K that was geared towards families and young children. There was a pretty decent crowd there – somewhere between 500 and 600 people – and the scene was about as alive as you could expect for an early Sunday morning.  The event seemed to go smoothly and I would guess most had a pretty decent time.

The event was at 8:30 am with check in starting at 7:00 am.  You all know me and how I love mornings.  And this was a Sunday morning!  Needless to say it was difficult to get up and at ‘em but it was especially tough this morning after Taiji spent his night being completely disruptive.  Natalie and I think that he believed that we were leaving on a trip because certain suitcases and bags were visible upstairs and became upset and wanted to spend time with us rather than let us sleep.  Whatever the cause, he kept me up most of the night on a very inopportune spot and I wasn’t too pleased.

The second hurdle became finding an area to park.  I was unfamiliar with where “Wade Oval” is, exactly, so I simply aimed for the lot in University Circle that I was most familiar with that I felt was close.  This lot is opposite the Triangle Apartments, where Natalie and I lived several years ago and that turned out to be a substantial error.  It turned out that my chosen lot was a little under a mile away from Wade Oval and I had to hoof it over there to check in.  Since I borrowed an extra 15 minutes from the sleep gods this morning, I was running merely ‘on time’ rather than early and so I had to hoof it at a decent pace (kind of like a… oh-man-I-better-step-lively-to-make-it-to-class-on-time type of pace).  Once I located the place where the action was and checked in, I found out that there were no lockers or places to store gear like wallets, keys, phones, event registration papers or similar (all things that I had with me) and so decided to hoof it back to the car (now mixing in a little jog with my speed walk pace) while keeping an eye open for better parking situations.  Of course, as I headed back, I walked right past at least two parking areas right where the action was – D’OH!  I made it back to the car, put my stuff away and drove over to the better parking areas.  And, after 1.6 miles (just over half of a 5K distance, I might highlight), I was ready for a 5K!

As I left the car and walked past the main podium, a DJ had upbeat pop music pumping from some large speakers and a classically overzealous aerobics instructor (or similar) was on a microphone warming everyone up.  I declined to participate in this because I was already plenty “warm” after my treks from and back to the car.  Also, it was still only about 8:10 am and the sound of the instructor yelping through the speakers to get people to stretch and perform aerobic exercise was making me want to run back home and jump in bed.  So I simply headed over to where the run was going to start from and I stretched out the legs.

Everyone gathered at the starting area at about 8:25 – a group of what ended up being noted at 234 participants for the 5K (the 1K runners/walkers started later).  I put on the little strap they gave everyone that had a chip in it that would register your specific chips start and finish times and downed a bottle of water.  As I downed the water I was surrounded by a pretty diverse bunch of folks.  All age groups were represented for sure, and there were men, women, children as young probably 7 or 8 years old, black, white, hispanic, women with babies in jogging strollers, little old guys and ladied… literally, all sorts.  The competitor in me picked out a few that thought looked like those I should try to keep up with, a few that I was sure I wanted to finish well ahead of and a few that I thought were likely to be difficult to keep up with.  I didn’t care about the gents and ladies at the front of the pack who were going to finish this thing in 15 minutes or so – trust me.  I knew I couldn’t run all 3 miles and I knew it would take me over 30 minutes to complete the whole thing at best.  I was just trying to mark some of those who I had hoped would be similar.  As it turns out, I overshot those hopes big time.

The moment we took off running I went right in behind those I was trying to keep up with.  By about the quarter mile point I knew there was no way I could keep up with them and there was a gap between us of about 75 yards or so.  I was watching little old ladies leave my butt in the dust.  I then looked behind me to make sure I was still in front of those who I so arrogantly decided I would finish in front of for sure… and was somewhat pleased that they were still behind me.  I picked out a new set of folks to keep up with and kept on going.

Now, to be brutally honest, I can’t remember the last time that I completed a mile run.  On the treadmill downstairs (when I use it, which is embarrassingly rare these past couple of years) I typically do a half mile and then walk up an incline.  So completing a mile was small goal of mine during this event, as well.  About half of the folks that I wanted to keep up with had stopped jogging and the other half continued – a couple of whom started to distance themselves away.  I kept jogging and was really hoping for some kind of marker for 1 mile.  I was sure it was just up the street, but could never see it.  Eventually, a family group near me blurted out through the same heavy breathing I was exhibiting that they were sure they had run 1 mile.  In my pretty fair exhaustion I took that to heart and began walking, as did they.  We continued walking and eventually (somewhere 250 and 300 yards, I’d say) had to turn right, down MLK drive.  As we rounded the corner, sure enough, there was a young lady with a stop watch and a mile marker sign showing us all that we sold ourselves short in our quest to complete 1 mile.

Frustrated that I didn’t even complete the first mile, I started jogging again and trying to catch back up to the crew that distanced themselves from our pack a bit.  This group was three who looked in decent shape but were taking it reasonable and steady.  One of the three was a young lady (maybe right around college aged looking) who was pushing a jogging stroller with a youngster within.  I caught back up to those three and then slowed down to match their pace as best I could.  I hoped to stay right with them, but simply could not.  I jogged about another half mile and again had to stop.  Much to my mental displeasure, I was also passed by several of those I was so arrogant to assume I could easily beat – but there was simply nothing I could do about it.  I clearly misjudged them.  They were still jogging, while I felt like I was about out of gas.  I grabbed a bit of water at the hydration point and kept hoofing it.

While walking, I was passed by a couple of those that were behind me that were in my initial pace target group and they became my new rabbits.  For a bit of time, I jogged when they jogged and walked when they walked.  I would gain on them when I jogged and would lose a bit of ground when we were walking.  Jogging for any length of time was getting tough for me… maybe two tenths of a mile, and then walking again.  Plus, all of a sudden we were in a hilly part of the course.  I didn’t even think there were hills in University Circle except for in Little Italy.  Those hills sapped my energy something fierce for a while.  On the last ascent I grabbed a bit of water at the last station and heard them talking about only about a half mile to go.  I thought to myself, “All right… I’ve been walking long enough.  It’s a half mile: let’s GO!”

The last half mile was 2/3 uphill – the steepest uphill so far – followed by a flat push to the finish.  As I jogged uphill I quickly left those that were left that I was trying to keep pace with and gave them a little shout of encouragement on the way by.  As best I can tell, we all were jogging at one point and every one of us realized just how hard that hill was in a short period of time.  I made a trade with myself … that if I had to walk any of this hill I would run that much faster at the end, even if it meant pain or sickness.  I ended up having to walk up that hill for about 60 yards, so as soon as it flattened out I just took off running.  I don’t think I’ve ever ran that slow in my life, but it was all I had left.

I ended up finishing in 40:33 (I think I remember on the board as I crossed the finish line)… almost 41 minutes – yikes!  On Friday I had a thought that it might take me 45 minutes to finish in some sort of worst case scenario and I almost matched that.  I was not expecting any hills – completely my naivety – and those really took a lot of energy out of me.  I have no idea where I finished in terms of the entire group of folks but a lot of those I wanted to beat or keep up with took me to the cleaners.  I did a good job of leaving everything I had on the course, today, but I just don’t have enough in me right now – I’m so stinking out of shape.  This was exactly the base line that I was after.  I wanted it put right in front of me – this is how ridiculous you are, right now, Ben.  Well, I got it; loud and clear.

Overall, though, I had a good time and I am happy that I did this.  I was pleased to see a good number of people at the event as I think the hospital does a lot of good for Cleveland and in their research.  It was not very expensive and I ended up getting 3 water bottles, a t-shirt, lots of fruit to eat and bottled water to drink, and some info from some organizations around Cleveland.  If I could replay the event I would also like to do so without having a 1.6 mile event before hand due to my poor parking decision.   Asking a few more questions before I registered would have helped me out a lot, there.

I think the official times and results are to be posted in the coming days so I’ll get to see exactly where I finished up.  I’m guessing it won’t be pretty, but… hey… it’s a start!

Apple To Issue Free Cases For iPhone 4 Antenna “Fix”

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Posted on 16th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in In The News

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While it will no doubt affect their bottom line a little, Apple will issue a free case to all iPhone 4 purchasers or reimburse those who have already purchased a case.  The case, it seems, is plenty effective in reducing the antenna reception issue that occurs when a user places his/her hand or fingers over the flawed design of the antenna that wraps around the exterior of the iPhone 4.  This comes at no surprise to me and is the more sensible approach to correcting the issue which Apple continues to maintain has been blown way out of proportion by those who simply want to take shots at the technology giant.  Certainly more sensible than, say, telling people to place a piece of duct tape over the weak spot in the antenna (Consumer Reports – bunch of agenda driven dumb asses).

To be fair, without Consumer Reports’ ground breaking article (** hear the sarcasm, please **) Apple might still be responding to emails suggesting that customers simply hold their phone differently or issuing a PR statement that tries to redirect the issue as a software problem that is simple to fix while continuing to tout how great their device is.  But after seeing their stock price take a hit after CR’s “duct tape” solution, Apple finally had to come to grips with what the matter was going to do to their company image as a whole.  So you iPhone 4 users can thank CR, I guess, for getting you a new case sooner, rather than later.

No word on exactly what case is being offered or if there will be a maximum dollar amount associated with reimbursement, but I’m sure those details will come out shortly.

Apple clearly dealing with it’s first real bruise in quite some time.

Apple News Conference To Address iPhone 4 Antenna Complaints

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Posted on 16th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in In The News

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Apple boss man Steve Jobs appears set to hold a 1pm ET news conference to address the iPhone 4 antenna complaints, today.  Here’s a couple of links:

It’s pretty clear to say that the iPhone 4 effort has been a bumpy ride.  First there was the iPhone 4 prototype that was left in a bar and ended up being snapped up and reviewed/publicized by Gizmodo in a post entitled “This is Apple’s Next iPhone“.  Then, when announcing the iPhone 4 and demonstrating it’s capabilities, Apple had a massive point of embarrassment when everything froze with Steve Jobs on stage pleading with everyone to turn off their wifi devices … leading to the infamous “Verizon!” shout out in a plea to get the iPhone 4 added to the Verizon network.  And the most damaging of all of the PR issues is now at hand with the complaints and poor reviews about the iPhone 4’s antenna losing reception when users hold them and cover up a weak point of the phone’s design with their fingers or thumb. It didn’t help that Steve Jobs responded to some emails suggesting that the problem is nothing but user error when he said (paraphrasing) “stop holding it that way”.  The PR on this issue had gone viral and is piling up fast.  Consumer Reports did a piece on the iPhone 4 and ended up saying that they cannot recommend the device because of this problem, which led to an instant hit on Apple’s stock price and a kick in the pants for Apple brass.

The funny thing in all of this, to me, is that the fixes are all the same – place something over the phone’s antenna.  99% of iPhones, I would bet, are immediately put into a case of some sort to protect it which instantly eliminates this problem.  So, really, what is the big deal?  Consumer Reports went out of their way to mention that a piece of duct tape fixes the problem – what a stupid ass comment to include in an article.  If a piece of duct tape placed on the side of the phone fixes it, then what else might fix it?  A case maybe?  No, that can’t be.  Let’s include something that has no intended purpose but has completely negative and old-ignorant-fix-it-style connotation just to slap Apple and their new technology aura in the face.  I hate Consumer Reports and this piece did nothing to help their cause with me.  Still, their piece accomplished what it was designed to do in grabbing Apple’s attention and getting them to focus on addressing the problem – at least that’s what seems to be happening with this conference, today.  Maybe they should just offer a free case for the phone?  That’s gotta be a lot cheaper and more reasonable than recalling all of the devices.

Pardon The Interruption – Technorati Claim In Progress

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Posted on 16th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Website Updates

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the interruption, here.  This is a test… only a test.  TGNRYP6KKU9Z .

We will now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


Weight Loss & Fitness Pursuit – Day Four

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Posted on 15th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


It’s day four of my born-again active ways with the continued goal of putting down a nice base to build on for the coming weeks of physical activity.  As I wrote earlier, I have registered for this Sunday’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run in University Circle and have altered this weeks plan a little bit to accommodate that event.  Natalie and I both felt pretty strong and surprisingly pain free after three days of training.  As a result, I decided to work extra hard today and take tomorrow and Saturday off before the event to recharge.  Any muscle soreness or stiffness from today will be long gone after two days off.

Together we repeated the first three days workout schedule and felt more confident doing so.  After we were complete with our workout, I went back outside and did some additional running.  Since we jog our neighborhood route, I decided I would like to push it up and train a little harder on shorter runs.  There’s a stretch from our house to the next subdivision intersection that is almost exactly a tenth of a mile and I was running that at what I felt was about 85% of my top end distance running speed.  I did 8 of those (based on 4 quarters, just like in football conditioning) and was pretty gassed afterwords.  I let myself rest while walking it off and then ended up in the circle in front of our house doing some short 75% sprints, some backpedaling and some shuffling to begin to work some of the muscles in my legs that haven’t seen much stimulation in some time.

The workout went well.  It was hot and I pushed it for longer than I had in the previous three days… I put out some serious sweat in the process.  Now it’s two days off before a 5K on Sunday.  I’m excited!  It feels good to finally get back to being active.  I’m not sure what took me so long to wake up and realize that a 60 – 65 hour a week, oatmeal brain producing, life wasting job wasn’t the right main ingredient in my life’s recipe.  But if I didn’t have regrets, I guess I wouldn’t be human.

Registered For Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run This Sunday!

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Posted on 15th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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Good morning!  So, I’ve decided to do it.  I’ve registered for this Sunday’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run in University Circle.  The cost is $16 (including a small registration fee) and it’s being put on by Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital with Aetna as one of the prime sponsors.  I fully intend to take advantage of the fact that it is a run/walk because there’s no way I can run 3.1 miles from start to finish.  I hope to get a great look at just how horribly out of shape I am in and finishing in the middle of the pack would be a victory, I think.

3.1 miles… wow.  Thinking about it, I’m not sure if I have completed 3 miles since my high school football days – honestly.  When I was in college I was in great shape because I was at the rec center every opportunity I got but, even then, I was only running a mile at the beginning of my workout and a mile at the end.  I’m going to need every bit of energy I can muster.  And, actually, my biggest challenge of all might just be getting there.  The event is at 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday, with check in and packet pick up starting at 7:00.  It’s about a 35 minute drive up there and I have no idea where to park.  So I’ll likely be leaving at around 6:30 am … on a Sunday.  Those hours just don’t exist for me so I hope I can pull it off (the event AND getting up in the morning… or maybe those should be the other way around).

Since I’ve signed up for this, I’ve decided that I want to take note of working out before hand.  I don’t think I want to work out on Saturday at all and I probably will end up counting Sunday’s activities towards this week’s goal of 5 days.  So I will probably manufacture two days off.  Right now I’m thinking of taking today off, then working out tomorrow and taking Saturday off.  We’ll see how Natalie feels… she could encourage me one way or another.  For instance I could go real hard working out, today, and then take Friday and Saturday off to recharge – I’m flexible, here.

Weight Loss & Fitness Pursuit – Day Three

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Posted on 14th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


Yesterday was a Wednesday – usually my golf league night – but Natalie and I continued to feel strong as our initial onset of soreness is wearing off quickly.  So we continued to try to build our new active habits by working out, again.  We repeated the same workout schedule as we are trying to lay down a decent base and, again, just kick start our systems and get over mental hurdles.  The admittedly short jog around the neighborhood isn’t really getting physically easier, for us, but the mental block of doing it is pretty much history.  Push-ups and sit-ups don’t feel anywhere near as strenuous as they did on day one although we are not yet extending the number of reps that we are doing of them.  Arm curls, lateral raises and one-arm shoulder presses don’t seem to fatigue us so rapidly either.  After our base week we’ll definitely be looking to up the reps and sets to keep things progressing.

I did some searching last night on found Ohio Runner, a website that includes a calendar or running events in Ohio. I was hoping to find something around Cleveland in a few weeks … something I could use to measure progress maybe.  I found a 5K event in Cleveland, this Sunday (July 18) called the “Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run“.  It’s a charity event for the children’s hospital and it’s classified as a run/walk.  It doesn’t look like a very competitive event and I’m strongly considering signing up for it to give me a firm snap shot of just how out of shape I am.  Also, even though it doesn’t appear to be a competitive event, there’s still nothing like an event where there are others around you to challenge you and get the juices flowing.  It could be beneficial to me so I’m seriously thinking about it.  If I do sign up, I probably would alter the plan for the rest of the week so I can rest up for it.