Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Dusting Of Snow - Revised Farmer's Walk



Song:  Gymnopedie

Original Composer:  Erik Satie



We had our first dusting of snow last week.


Alex, and I, love the cooler temperatures.


Pretty soon is ski season.

I must get my body toughened for when I hit the slopes this winter (literally :)

Alex does fine.  He is such a quick learner.
Most of my enjoyment comes from seeing him enjoy himself so much on the slopes.

As it is now too cold for our Saturday biking...
I am planning on getting a season ski pass for Alex and me...
and we plan to hit the slopes at least once a week
(our winter endurance exercise).

I also plan to take him snow shoeing sometime this winter...
and perhaps...some snow camping.

I made one modification to Alex's Farmer's Walk exercise.


This is a picture of Alex doing the Farmer's Walk three months ago.

Since then...
he has added 30 lbs. to the bar...
and I will now have him work his way up to a quarter of a mile walk 
while holding on to the bar.

This will greatly improve his Stamina...
and overall body conditioning.

Although he will have to put the bar down and rest a few minutes...
quite a few times during the session...in total...
he will have walked a quarter mile with a hundred pounds in his hands
(I will add more weight to the bar periodically).

I will, of course, build him up slowly to it.

However, he can now go 100 yards with it non-stop.

It will eventually be a multi-set... Stamina and Strength Endurance exercise...
twice a week.  He will be huffing like a freight train...
but he will feel like a million bucks afterwards.

This will dramatically improve his overall body conditioning.
He will be able to put forth high physical effort for long periods of time...
and for quickly repeated sets.

All of his other exercises will remain the same.

As Alex is still only 12 years old...
I reiterated to him how, in a couple of years...
when his Testosterone levels will naturally increase...
 he will see dramatic improvements in his strength, stamina, and endurance.

I told him of Milo...
the famous undefeated Greek Grappler of old...
and of his legendary (if not mythological) training regimen
(progressive resistance training).

He is said to have started out carrying a calf over his shoulders...
and walking around an arena with it.

As the calf grew...
and gained in weight...
Milo grew stronger and stronger.

Although the weight increases will be smaller...
and more conservatively applied...
the concept is the same.

Alex is really looking forward to this new longer Farmer's Walk session...
he loves how he feels after a good exercise session...
and he loves seeing his progress in weight training.


Last time I visited my mother in California...
I had her purchase a similar trap weight bar for herself 
(online...Amazon - $199.00 delivered)...
and my elder sister is going to buy her a couple of hundred pounds of free weights
and take it to her house.

My mother and my elder sister will be visiting me in a few weeks.
I will be showing them how to use the trap bar for just one exercise...
once a week...to not only improve their overall wellbeing and strength...
but to help build their bones to help prevent Osteoporosis.

My mother is 73 years old...
and although she is still in good overall health...
one good exercise (trap bar deadlift) once a week...
(singles up to 25 sets...then add weight...drop the sets to 5...add one set a week...
again, a set being one repetition...rest 30 seconds before the next set)
will do wonders for her.

I will write an article on them performing the exercise...when they arrive
(with pictures.  This exercise is safe...and effective..and I will go into it more in the article).

Both, she, and my elder sister, are going to do it together.

My sister will go to my mom's house...
 they will stretch...exercise...then stretch...
and they will be doing one of the greatest heavy lifts for overall 
body strength...without the shearing forces on the lower back
that the Squat or Standard Deadlift has
(I may switch Alex back to the Raised Platform Trap Bar Deadlift 
from the Squats and Deadlifts he is doing now...just for this reason).


This will protect their bones...
raise their metabolic rates...
improve overall health, and wellbeing.

Hmmm...
I wonder if I could get them interested in doing the Farmer's Walk too!  :)

(I am joking...not a good idea for an elderly woman...
one slip, or trip, and she could easily break off the head of one of her Femurs...
commonly called a "hip fracture").
















Friday, October 25, 2013

Teppanyaki For Alex



Song:  Cherry Blossoms in Winter

Artists:  The Yoshida Brothers



I regularly read another Blog from a father who has a son on the spectrum:


His last article described their recent trip to a Teppanyaki restaurant.

It made me crave it so much...that I had to take Alex out to one last night.

Alex, and I, went out to Ijji 2.

It was just 15 minutes away from home.





The traditional flaming of the grill.


The chef piled raw onions with the centers cut out.
He then filled it with a flammable liquid.


As the flame died out...
the moisture in the raw onions created steam...
and it went from a volcano, to a steam locomotive.

The chef did the traditional flipping of the utensils and food...
as he gave an enjoyable show as he cooked.

Alex very much enjoyed the show.

Alex was smiling as the chef performed...
and we were both smiling when we tasted the delicious food.


Alex had chosen the lightly grilled tuna as an appetizer.
I had chosen shrimp.

Alex had given me a big smile as he raved about the lightly grilled tuna.




For the main meal...
Alex had chosen the grilled shrimp and chicken.





I had chosen the Filet Minion and the shrimp for mine
(I had already eaten some of my dish before I had taken this picture).

The food was excellent.

They had spiced the meats so flavorfully...
it was simply...pure pleasure in every bite.

The whole dish was so masterfully flavored...
I had no need for any of the included sauces.

For steak and seafood...
this is going to be one of our favorites.



As Alex has been working extra hard in his studies lately...
I had given him two desserts.

He had a scoop of chocolate ice cream to start out with...


then he had a "Dessert Roll".


I had tried a slice.

I must admit...
I had found the combination of crepe, strawberries, cream cheese...
whipped cream, chocolate sauce...
and RICE...to be strange.

It was made to resemble a long Sushi Roll.

However, Alex liked it...
and that is all that mattered.  :)

This was a new restaurant adventure which panned out for us.

Both of us had a great dining experience...
and we now have a new place to put on our favorites list.  :)


Alex taking some of his food back.
He had to leave enough room for dessert!  :)


Tomorrow, Alex is going to work on more of his science project.
He must complete the "Procedures and Materials" report...
and we must set up his third experiment.


As Alex had already completed his homework...
his advanced work...and his evening's exercise and shower...
when we returned from the restaurant...
he had the rest of the evening to enjoy
(no school tomorrow...holiday).




Frequently, during our local or distant drives...
I emphasize, to Alex, how he is on the correct path in life.

Alex knows that great effort put in now...
will reap great rewards later in life.

Alex studies everyday...
without fail...
and with enthusiasm.

He is so looking forward to attending University one day.

His medium goal is to get his Doctorate degree...
in, as of now, Mathematics.

However, he may choose Physics...
or some other science degree later on.

It is in their goals and objectives...
that humans find the correct paths to their dreams.

Alex is steadily improving in all areas...
and in this alone...
he has found great happiness.

With each increment of improvement...
comes another step of progress on his path...
another step closer to his goals.

I must re-emphasize...
we are not pushing Alex to study...
we are merely providing an efficient path for him to follow in his studies...
through conceptual guidance, and effective advanced work.

It is his love of learning...
and the pure pleasure he gets from pursuing his dreams...
which drive him forward.

When I see Alex loving the simple pleasures in life...
such as in our outings...and in our restaurant adventures...
it makes me so happy.

However, it is in the realization that Alex...
through his ernest study habits, and in his drive to achieve his goals...
that I may fully enjoy life's simple pleasures...
for I may rest easy knowing that Alex will eventually find his ultimate happiness in life...
because of his steady treading on a correct path in life.

We, as parents, have plans to help Alex achieve his dreams...and beyond. 

We have solid short, medium, and long term goals...
and contingency plans...to help Alex achieve his dreams...
and to help him live his life well...
even when we are gone.

More on the importance of this...
and some of our specific plans...
in another article.








Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alex's Science Project - Experiment II



Song:  Rolling in the Deep

Rendition:  The Piano Guys




Alex's second experiment dealt with the strength
 of the total Adhesive Molecular Attraction of differing materials...to that of water.
I taught him that it depends on the configuration of the material...which in this case...
the results are produced through capillarization.

I had also taught him that it was a product of Adsorption rather than Absorption.


Alex tried different materials singly...
in differing configurations...


and in various combinations.



His objectives for this experiment were to grade individual materials
as to their ability to attract water...and the ease at which they released it...
to list each with the pros and cons...
to try to combine various materials to get the most strengths from each...
and to properly configure them...as well as shape them, to achieve the desired effect.

Alex tested the ability of the material to attract water by observing the rate 
at which water was extracted from a capillary.

Alex then tested the materials for its saturation point...
and the rate of clearance through the release of the water...
as again tested through water extraction from a capillary.

His experiment proved to be a success.

We were able to determine the best combination of materials...
and the best configuration to allow constant extraction...
only because of the materials used, and the configuration of the final product...
allowed constant drainage of the extraction point, which kept it below its saturation point.

I told Alex that in order to engineer this product...
the point was to get the materials with the highest total adhesive molecular attraction...
and the most surface area...and to decrease the total adhesive molecular attraction...
 and the surface area, in succession...
and to take out surface tension from the equation by not allowing the water
to gather into a drop...which could greatly slow...or even stop, the process.

Again, although, both, the concept, and the final product, are very simple...
I cannot show it as of yet.

Alex will be entering a competition with it.


The third experiment will prove to be the most daunting.

The forces we will be dealing with are so small...
and the engineering of the apparatus needing to be so finely tuned...
that it will prove to be a lengthly process.

We are only using the most basic of materials to build it.

Even should Alex not be able to construct it...
he can show how the concept is theoretically sound...
and how it could be constructed using different materials
(carbon fibers and magnetic levitation).

Neither Alex, nor I, have very good fine motor control...
nor have we a lot of patience...
and this next phase shall demand a lot of both.




Fall is still affecting the neighborhood trees.

It is so nice this time of year.









Alex enjoys just walking through the neighborhood.

The air is a very nice temperature...
although today was a little warm for me (75 degrees).
However, the nights dip into the 30s...so it is nice.

Next week, we shall have highs in the 50s and lows in the 20s.

That is more like it  :)






















Saturday, October 19, 2013

Alex's Science Project - Experiment I



Song:  The Cello Song

Artists:  The Piano Guys




This is Alex's first experimental phase of his Science project
(yes...our laboratory is the coffee table  :)

This is NOT his science project...
it is merely a preliminary step into finding the most advantageous
solution to use for the actual construction of his project.

An integral portion of his project is the type of solution used
to achieve the greatest amount of water tension without significant disadvantages 
manifesting themselves in the project as time goes on.


He first had to quantify certain tap water qualities at a set temperature...
such as Total Dissolved Solids...


pH levels...


Water Tension as demonstrated in Capillary Draw Height...


as measured in hundredths of a millimeter.


He then determined the change in water tension strength in a salt water solution
using the same amount of water and by increasing the amount of salt as measured
on a milligram scale in approximately 1g increments and measuring the 
Capillary Draw Height for each increment of salt added until total salt saturation
of the water was achieved for 72 degree water.





Alex then did a Capillary Draw Height test for a solution known to 
decrease Water Tension...dishwashing liquid in solution.


Alex then did an experiment with a 5% acid solution of White Vinegar.


He then measured its pH and did a Capillary Draw Height test.


For his final experiment...
he used a pro-strength Liquid Plumr Alkaline solution...
determined its pH and did a Capillary Draw Height test.

He had noted all of his results...
and he is set to complete his second phase of experimentation
on the physical materials, and their correct physical configurations...
to be used in his actual science project...
to effect the greatest results.

As I had said before...
the actual project I will not specify until he has already submitted it to
the Science Fair.

Again...
this is just phase 1 of a total of 3 phases of experimentation for his project.

His project's goal is to demonstrate how something...
normally thought to be impossible...may be achieved...
using correct engineering, and the proper use of the principles of Physics.


Tomorrow, Alex will experiment with three different materials...
and a multitude of physical configurations, to test their ability to
create the greatest disparity of total Adhesive Molecular Attractive forces
in the science project.











Friday, October 18, 2013

Alex's Neighborhood Stroll - Greek Restaurant



Song:  Desert Song

Artists:  The Piano Guys



A couple of days ago...
Alex's mother took him for a walk around our neighborhood...
and on up the hillside to a water container.


The fall colors in the neighborhood are coming to an end soon...
so they wished to take advantage of it by just walking through it.


The water container is on the hillside behind the line of trees.



Just up the street from our home...


is the dirt road leading up through the hills.









Alex had enjoyed his walk with his mother so much...
that I decided to take him up the hill earlier today.









After our walk...
we showered and went out to a little Greek restaurant...
at least that is what it was supposed to be.

As adventures sometimes end in disappointment...
this was one of them.


When we entered the "restaurant"...
I had thought that the table of elderly ladies were customers...
until the lady on the right picked up a tambourine and played it while sitting down
at her table  :)

They must have been the spouses of the "band".

Their "singing" was off key...
and they had no concept of mike control.

As a result...
some of their words were piercing...
while others were barely audible.

The food was simply barely edible.

All of our Mediterranean cravings, from now on...
 will be at our old favorite...Naan and Kabab.

We shall never return to this one...ever.
I don't think this one will survive much longer anyway.

I won't even include food pictures...it was that bad.

I shall merely designate this honky tonk / poor excuse for a restaurant as...
El Crapo  :)


Alex is now writing a 1 star review of it on Yelp  :)


We finally received all of the scientific equipment...
so Alex shall initiate his experiments tomorrow.

I shall be taking photos of his experimental steps for tomorrow's article.






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