News for August 2006


Radiation tri-blade 31.august.2006 - The Radified server (physically located in downtown Los Angeles) is being upgraded tomorrow (September 1st), so you might notice some downtime (hopefully not). See here. Letter from my web host:

We will be upgrading all shared servers for Apache, PHP and cPanel according to the following schedule.

This upgrade will place PHP 4.4.4 on all shared servers for security reasons, due to holes existing in PHP 4.4.1 and 4.4.2.

Radiation tri-blade 30.august.2006 - Played Rad dad today. Have a major developmental milestone to report: the little guy rode on the big-kid swings today, for the first time.

I've always swung him on the little-kid swings .. those basket-swings, where they *can't* fall out, no matter how high they're pushed.

I've let him ride on my lap plenty of times, on the big-kid swings (since I'm a big kid), pinching one of his legs between mine, so he can't launch off my lap.

But this morning he wanted to ride by himself. I said, "You can't ride on the big-kid swings by yourself." But he was adamant. So I set him in the seat and pushed gently.

He hung onto the chains like a champ, so I pushed a little higher. Next thing ya know, he (my little bug) was swinging like a big kid.

Plenty of soft sand was waiting under the swing, so even if he fell, he wouldn't've been hurt very badly. On the little-kid swings, I've always pushed him real high (which he loves).

As things were winding down, when he wasn't swinging very high, he saw a doggie and pointed .. which had him struggling to hang on with one hand. I said, "Oh no, ya gotta use both hands on these swings."

He's always had a bit of monkey in him, able to climb the bars at the playground pretty well .. as if his daddy were part orangutan. (I've been called worse.)

I realize this isn't one of your traditional developmental milestones, but (for some reason) it seems like a big deal to me. He's 19 months. Of course, afterwards, I called all my friends around the country to relay the news (beginning with the Dog).

Radiation tri-blade 29.august.2006 - Something I wanted to mention yesterday (but never got around to) was that yesterday was the first day (in a long time) I woke feeling good.

I've been in a funk for a while now. Not sure why I started feeling good again. I mean, I didn't win the lottery or anything like that. Nothing of note has changed, certainly not overnight.

Still up to my arse in angry alligators, but their teeth have worn down from chewing on my butt so much.

Feels like a weight has been lifted. I can breath easier. Thought I actually heard birds singing in the morning. I'm not normally a down person.

Life during the past year has seemed like (tho not necessarily the case) a series of brush fires I've had to extinguish .. moving from one crisis to the next ...

... always having to play catch-up, rarely able to really relax, struggling to keep my head above the water of life .. (hard to take good care of yourself when you're feeling emotionally battered).

But now I feel centered, like I've finally weathered a series of life-storms [...which regulars will recall. Or maybe I've wandered into the eye of the hurricane. =) ]

In related news, I've been studying recently about diet & exercise. A wise man once told me: become a student of what you do. He claimed he'd received that advice from another wise man .. who in turn heard it from yet another wiseguy.

I think the advice originated with Socrates, who passed it on to Plato, who in turn whispered it in the ear of young Aristotle.

I've learned many interesting tricks regarding the science of exercise & nutrition. There remains many conflicting viewpoints & nuances, but I've done enough research to discover the areas where everyone agrees .. such as ..

.. cottage cheese is a good pre-workout meal, cuz it contains the perfect ratio of protein-to-carbs, which are released slowly into your bloodstream as you workout.

And sure enough, when I put these tricks into practice, they produce noticeable results. (I never would've considered it smart to eat cottage cheese before working out.) Perhaps I'll document the fruits of my research in a single place .. such as a Radified Guide to ...

Another interesting bit of advice .. you should consume a post-workout recovery 'cocktail' .. immediately following a hard workout .. to replenish the nutrients just burned up (the body is a big chemical factory).

The cocktail should consist of whey protein (for this 'cocktail' whey isolate is better than whey concentrate) .. along with a combination of dextrose and maltodextrin (50/50), which are both essentially pure sugar.

I never would've thought it wise to consume 40 grams of sugar .. but heeding this advise has made a big difference.

Actually, dextrose enters your bloodstream even faster than regular sugar, which contains one dextrose (glucose) molecule and one fructose molecule. The fructose molecules must first pass thru your liver, where they're processed into glucose (dextrose), dramatically slowing their entry into your bloodstream ...

... which is not the case with the dextrose they recommend. Anyway, my point is .. all this stuff is based on hard science .. and (I must admit) seems to be working.

I also had my bodyfat measured again yesterday, and have dropped from 24 to 21.5%. For my age group, I learned (contrary to previous info) that 20-25% is considered healthy, and 15-20% is considered fit, so I'm close to being fit.

Over 30%, for my age-group (older than dirt) is considered unhealthy. We men tend to gain about 1% body-fat every decade. So 'normal' body-fat for a 50-year-old is ~3% higher than for a 20 year-old. When I was 20, I couldn't gain weight if I tried. The more I ate, it seemed, the more I pooped.

Feel like I've had a low-grade bug for the last year, and have finally beat it. Something is different.

Radiation tri-blade 28.august.2006 - No updates in a week. Argh! You know how life sometimes gets in the way. Let me try to play catch up.

First, if you know someone who's interested in making movies for a living, Chapman university recently got a $40-mil boost, in the form of a 76,000 sq-foot digital arts building, chock full of cool, hi-tech equipment (geeks drool), called Marion Knott Studios.

USC will always be the world's best Film school, due to their close ties with the industry, and their great facilities, but not everyone can get into USC.

Chapman is stepping up to the filmmaking plate with what they call one of the nation's most advanced film school facilities.

Beautiful school. I went there for 7 weeks of (mandatory) co-parenting classes earlier this year. Chapman is for people who prefer a small-town setting to big-city smog. I could enjoy living there.

Other big-name Film schools are UCLA, AFI & NYU.

I think movie-making is one of the more creative careers. If one starts early .. say, while in high school, for example, with a nice PC designed to edit video .. they can become fairly proficient by the time college rolls around .. with a collection of home-made productions to their credit.

In other news, I've been seeing a lot of Babalu at the club. He fought this weekend, in Vegas, for the UFC world light-heavyweight title (205-pound class).

I was hoping he'd win, so I could congratulate him, but I heard he got knocked out in the first couple minutes. Ouch. More here.

Radiation tri-blade 21.august.2006 - HBO is featuring a 4-part documentary tonight (9PM) by Spike Lee, titled When the Levees Broke, about the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Reminds me of the Led Zepplin song (1970): When the Levy Breaks.

Spike's documentarty is subtitled: A Requiem in Four Acts. The word requiem is defined as: a piece of music written to commemorate somebody who has died. [I've long been a fan of Mozart's Requiem (1791), my favorite piece by him.]

Spike, by the way, went to USC Film school, which many consider the world's finest. First two parts air tonight. Parts 3 & 4: tomorrow. This is the longest documentary in HBO history. Spike has always been controversial. Many say angry. He's gonna be merciless with this one. Here's a quote:

"Most people think it was Katrina that brought about the devastation to New Orleans. But it was a breaching of the levees that put 80 percent of the city under water. And last week the Army Corps of Generals went on record and finally 'fessed up, and said we f*cked up."

Media coverage at San Francisco Gate, Boston Globe, NY Times, NY Daily News, Washington Post, Fox News, ABC News, Reuters, Philly Inquirer, Bayou Buzz.

Radiation tri-blade 20.august.2006 - Had a nasty case of the blues yesterday (persistent). The worst part is, I'm not sure why.

It's not like I don't have plenty of good reasons to feel sad, yet nothing had changed between yesterday and the day before, when I felt fine.

When I saw the movie World Trade Center, for example, a few nights ago, I felt sad during the sad parts, which is normal, cuz I knew *why* I felt that way.

But yesterday, I didn't know why .. which makes me feel .. uh, out of control .. weird, and of course, curious. Certainly not reassuring.

Maybe it was simply a delayed reaction to some previous life-disappointment .. or maybe the sadness I felt while watching the movie somehow tapped into an inner sadness lingering somewhere below the surface.

To keep this home page small, the remainder of today's entry is continued in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here:> Feeling Sad, Blue, Depressed: Not Sure Why

Radiation tri-blade 17.august.2006 - Saw World Trade Center this eve .. (at the Big Newport in Newport Beach). Well made. Very sad (was a sad day for our country). The lady sitting a few seats down cried the whole second half of the movie.

First thing I noticed was how seriously Nicholas Cage took his role in this movie. It was obvious he intended to honor the victims of that day.

I decided to see the movie, primarily cuz Oliver Stone directed it. [Did you know Stone volunteered for infantry duty (combat) in Viet Nam? ... which is pretty much asking to be killed (~suicidal?).

That should give you some insight into Stone's psyche. Heard he was distraught over his parents separating (divorce). He was born in New York City.]

To keep this home page small, the remainder of today's entry is continued in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here:> World Trade Center (Rad Movie review) An Oliver Stone film

Radiation tri-blade 16.august.2006 - Saw that Bruno Kirby died (age 57). I ran into him (& his wife) while soaking in the hot springs at the Two Bunch Palms Resort in Desert Hot Springs (near Palm Springs) .. back in November 2003 (see HERE).

Small world. Heard he had leukemia. What a shame. Real nice guy. Did you see him in Sleepers? He was brilliant. He's been in *lots* of movies.

Radiation tri-blade 15.august.2006 - Received lots of mail regarding yesterday's entry, about the aborted over-night with the bug (Rad Jr.) .. such as this one, which comes from Johannesburg, South Africa, along with interesting insights into that fascinating country:

Hi Rad,

Just read your latest post about taking the bug back to his mom. You did an amazing thing. That took guts. But it's honest. I'm so impressed - no, moved -- by your post that I can't think what else to say. It's profoundly honest.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for you, but the strength and honesty with which you post to the public is amazing.

I'm South African born-n-bred. Lived most of my life in Johannesburg. My parents (English / Irish) are South Africans, too, as were their parents.

To keep this home page small, the remainder of today's entry is continued in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here:> A letter from the Rad in-box, from Johannesburg, South Africa

Radiation tri-blade 14.august.2006 - The little guy (Rad Jr.) was in Michigan, visiting his grandparents last week. (He's been there more times than me.) But he's back now.

I spent the day with him yesterday. Great day. He was real happy, lots of smiles & laughs. Tons of energy. Tireless. Playful. Ate like a horse.

His mom suggested I keep him overnight. (Say what?!) That hasn't happened since the break-up, more than a year ago (he's 19 months). So I was stoked.

He went to sleep fine, but woke around midnite, crying for "Momma".

To keep this home page small, the remainder of today's entry is continued in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here:> The Bug's First Overnight Stay Aborted (Heartbreak)

Radiation tri-blade 13.august.2006 - Regarding Friday's entry, about running sprints, to crank up the metabolism, in order to burn fat .. it's clear that running eight 1-minute sprints (in 16 minutes) is too much to begin with (way too much).

I felt great while running (on the beach at Crystal Cove, sunset), but my legs were sore last few days. Real sore. Was hobbling around most of the weekend. Still sore today, not as badly, tho.

The muscles that connect the backs of your knees to your feet, including the calves & related tendons .. uh, I torqued those pretty good.

To keep this home page small, the remainder of today's entry is continued in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here:> Legs Sore from Running Sprints

Radiation tri-blade 11.august.2006 - If you were here a few days ago, you know how I asked a personal trainer at the club to measure my body-fat, which yielded a surprising 24% .. a number that made me cringe.

To be honest, when I first heard 24 percent, I thought: No way, José. So today I found a different trainer and asked him to repeat the measurements.

His results, nearly identical: 23%. So, either the two of them are in cahoots, conspiring against me, or .. I'm a bona fide porker. (They must be conspiring.) And this guy wasn't trying to sell me anything, either, like the last trainer.

To keep this home page small, the remainder of today's entry is continued in Ye Olde Rad Blog. See here:> Losing Fat by Cardio Exercise (Sprinting)

Radiation tri-blade 10.august.2006 - Site traffic typically peaks every year around the holidays (December, January, when folks have more free time), then falls & consolidates before the next up-surge begins .. to new highs. This has been the pattern year in, year out.

Traffic was never a major concern, but rather a fun metric to watch grow. Now that it affect$ revenue however, I've become more traffic-conscious, and admit to thinking of ways it can be maximized (new for me).

Seems the next up-surge has begun. Yesterday logged the largest revenue numbers since the holidays, and today's numbers appear headed past those of yesterday.

Update: yeah, we are well past yesterday's numbers. And more hours remain for the day.

To keep the home page small, the remainder of today's entry is continued in Ye Olde Rad Blog. See here:> Site Traffic Climbing

Radiation tri-blade 09.august.2006 - When I first moved to California (from New York), I thought it would be summery year round (with palm trees swaying endlessly in the warm ocean breeze).

But summers here last only a few months, like most places. Then it gets cold again. Certainly nothing like in the cold you get in New York, but not beach weather (like it is now). The water gets chilly.

Last few weeks have been gorgeous: ideal summer weather (after that dreadful heat wave finally passed). Picture perfect days ensued. Which is why it's important to take advantage of the nice weather while it's here.

To keep the home page small, the remainder of today's entry is continued in Ye Olde Rad Blog. See here:> Hot Fun in the Summertime & Haunted Sheets

Radiation tri-blade 07.august.2006 - While working out this morning, I asked one of the trainers to measure my body-fat percentage.

The guy used a pair of calibers to take measurements of skin-fold thicknesses at four points: bicep, tricep, shoulder-blade, and hip bone.

I was expecting him to report ~15%, but when he said my body-fat was 24% .. well, I found that hard to swallow. Appears I had unrealistic expectations.

I mean, 24% is almost considered unhealthy. Now, I admit to having a gut (takes a big hammer to drive a big nail), but 24% still seems high.

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Bodyfat measured at 24% with skin-fold calipers

Radiation tri-blade 05.august.2006 - Continuing work on updating the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio .. adding some spit-n-polish. Once I undertake something, I like to make sure it's done right before moving on. Not so easily accomplished with this beast-a-saurus.

Been feeling a little blue lately. Not sure why. Maybe it's just physical. (Perhaps I need more iron.) Sometimes a good, hard work-out will snap me out of it.

Maria called yesterday & left a rosy message on my cell, saying the world is gonna end in 2012, adding that I should be good to myself.

Normally this would make me chuckle, but with all the stuff going on in the world today, it makes ya wonder ... if we'll make it that long.

Going for a bike-ride today with Miss Julie, down to the Balboa Peninsula (Newport Beach, aka Zoo-port, with all the people heading there for summer weekends). Fresh air always makes me feel good.

Radiation tri-blade 01.august.2006 - Goodbye July, hello August. Updated the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio today. It was a mess (full of obsolete info). Infested with a bad case of link-rot-itus.

I still have some (minor) tweaks I'd like to make, but for now, it's quite useable, and (most importantly) reflects the latest recommended encoder settings [-V 2 --vbr-new, as of November 2005] for use with the currently recommended version of LAME:> v3.97 beta2.

Also broke up one of the longer pages into 3 smaller ones, which comprise the following:

The info on those 3 pages used to be crammed into a single page (yeah, lotsa scrolling). The guide now consists of 10 pages.

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Updated the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio