Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alex's New Home Study Area



Song:  Beautiful Day

Orchestra:  The Royal Philharmonic



As Alex will now be studying his High School material online at home...
and as he will also be taking advanced courses at the University of Nevada...
we decided to set up a dedicated study area at home just for Alex.

We had ordered all of his home office online (except for the chair).
Everything arrived by today...so I set up his study area.



His completed desk unit.
As his text books for his online High School will be sent by mail to him...
the attached book shelves will keep them all close at hand.



We wanted Alex to have comfortable surroundings to study in.

Actually, the late evening is the only time direct sunlight comes through the window.
During that short period of time...he will just close the blinds.
The rest of the time, he may just leave the blinds open to enjoy the views.

We had gone to a local office store to pick out the chair for Alex.

I wanted Alex to pick out the most comfortable chair for him...
as he will be using his study area for many hours everyday.


I will trim the trees (after the Autumn colors) outside the window so Alex may enjoy 
the full mountain views from the comfort of his study area.


This whole study area is just for Alex.
We just unboxed his new iMac computer today.

This new computer is all his...and just for his use.
We wanted Alex to be able use a computer whenever he wishes...
without having to worry about sharing with anyone else.

My wife has her own iMac in her home office...
I have my own iMac in my cave...
and now Alex has his own dedicated computer and study area.


The printer is within easy reach should he wish to print out anything.

As our house is always very quiet (the TVs are in the bedrooms)...
there are no distractions, so Alex may study in peace and quiet...
at anytime of the day or night.

Alex will keep his laptop as an emergency backup...
but his new computer will be his main one from now on.

Alex is very happy with his new study area.
With happiness...comes higher productivity  :)










Monday, August 25, 2014

Alex's First Day Of Linear Algebra At UNR



Song:  Drops Of Jupiter

Group:  Train





Alex started the Fall semester at the University of Nevada Reno today
(We just came back from his Linear Algebra course).

This semester's parking lot is twice as far from his class as was the Summer semester's  :(


Alex was very excited to be back on campus at UNR.




We arrived early and Alex remembered to always strive to sit front and center of the class  :)

Within 15 minutes...
the class filled with more than 30 students.


I went back to "my chair" in the lounge...
sipped on an energy drink...
propped up my feet...
opened a good book...
and awaited Alex's return.


We are on our way back after Alex's class.

Alex said that he saw a girl he had met in his last semester's Statistics class at UNR...
in his Linear Algebra class.

I had met her last semester as she and Alex were discussing some problems 
outside of the classroom after an exam.

She was asking how he had solved some of the problems.  
Alex was proudly describing his process  :)

Although she is at least 10 years older than Alex...
she was very friendly towards him...
and this, of course, made me happy.

Any friend of Alex's...
is a friend of mine  :)

(Alex looks much older than his 13 year age...
so he fits in with the other students well).



This was the location of the old parking lot.

The new one is still a ways away.



This is the stadium which had held the Nevada Western Regional Science Fair...
which Alex had competed in last year.


The new parking lot.


Alex was very happy today.
He feels so free to advance himself toward his future now.

He is looking forward to this class...
and to starting his new online high school.


We are also in the process of setting up Alex's new home study area.


We bought Alex his own:

L shaped desk 

very comfortable executive chair

 computer riser for his desk

and...

his own 27" screen iMac computer (latest model)...
(now each of us has our own iMac  :)


We are going to convert the library section of one of the living rooms 
into Alex's study area.

I will be including pictures of the setup once they arrive
(ordered everything but the chair online).



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Alex's New Direction For High School - NorthStar / UNR



Song:  Serenata Immortale (with translation)

Group:  Immediate Music




Alex and I are waiting in line to pay for his class fees at the University of Nevada Reno.

My wife had found a math class for Alex to take for the Fall semester at UNR.

He will be taking Linear Algebra starting this Monday
(although he had already taken this course at home on line...
and had gotten an 'A' in it...it was not from an accredited on line source).

We often do this with Alex's major courses.
He will take them online ahead of actually taking them at school
(all throughout his school years...from elementary school on up...
he had taken courses at home at least a year ahead 
of when he was scheduled to officially take them...
and some times...many years ahead).

We always strive to keep him ahead of the curve...
so, this course at the University will actually be a review class for him
(however, as he keeps taking higher and higher levels of math...
it will be difficult for us to find such courses available on line).

I had pulled Alex out of school early so we could take care of his registration at UNR... 
and so he could fill out some registration forms and complete an admission essay
 for his new high school (NorthStar).

It is an online high school which allows gifted children to work at their own pace...
and remotely, as some travel around the country during their studies.

We had decided to go this route so Alex could continue going to UNR without being 
restricted by a normal school's hours.

This way, Alex can now take classes at the University every semester.


UNR's online payment system was having problems...
so, there was a long line of students paying for classes (which start this Monday).

Only after we had finally gotten to the payment window...did I see this sign
(The kiosks were on the nonvisible far side of the elevators...around a corner...
and why weren't these signs placed along the wall adjacent to the line
instead of AT the payment window? :(    (doh! :)

We could have gone to a Kiosk to pay instead of waiting in line. 


On our way out.
I felt sorry for the people standing in line.
They had a looong wait ahead of them  :)


We are leaving UNR and going home so Alex could type up his admission essay
and complete the admissions paperwork for NorthStar online High School 
(the main office is in Reno).


This was a picture board of some of the recent graduates of NorthStar High School.

Some of the students use the freedom of this type of learning so they may pursue
other interests at the same time.

We were given a guided tour by one of the school's representatives.
She had pointed out one of the graduates as being an actress
who is currently on a TV show.

Another graduate, who was a particularly skilled artist...
had recently sold one of his paintings to a Congressman...
and his work is currently being displayed in the Congressman's office in Washington D.C..

Yet another recent graduate was accepted to Stanford University.

We had chosen this online high school 
because they not only offer many advanced courses...
they allow the student to advance at a rapid rate...
and they accept University course work as dual credit for High School.

However fast the student wishes to go through the courses...
he may advance at will...
and, this is important...
he may chose the time of day he studies each of the courses...
all on his own schedule.

He may also have one on one time with teachers on line 
using a headset/mic set up on his computer.

It was this freedom which will allow Alex to schedule his high school classes
around his classes at UNR.

Alex may now attend UNR year round...not merely for the Summer Session.


This is the high school testing site
(it may also be used by the students to study on site).

After Alex finishes a course at home...
he will be taking his final exam on site under the watch of a proctor.


This is the elementary and middle school testing site.


Today was a busy day...
but also a very successful day.

Alex is now all set for his Linear Algebra course at UNR.

The NorthStar Online High School representative said that although it will be sometime 
next week before the admissions paperwork is completed and we may then
withdraw Alex from his present school...
she said that he may consider himself an official student at NorthStar.

My wife had been researching online schools for Alex 
for the one which would best fit his needs.

When we discovered all the advantages that this school has...
we knew we had found the right one.

We consider ourselves to be so fortunate to have had everything work out so well
(of course, most of the credit goes to my wife for her constant research
into future academic opportunities for Alex).

Alex is very excited...
and he is looking forward to getting started with this new opportunity.

We felt like celebrating our great fortune...
and so, we went to the Atlantis Casino to enjoy a dinner feast
on the Sky Terrace at the 'Oyster Bar'.



Alex had chosen the 1 lb. King and Dungeness Crab Platter.


I had chosen their excellent 'Seafood Fettuccine'.

As I have said before...
this is the best seafood fettuccine I have ever had in my life
(tons of scallops / mussels / prawns).

Each bite was so flavorful...
so savory...
so satisfying...
I am still enjoying the memory of this dish
many hours later as I type this article.


My wife had chosen to eat some sushi.



Alex then had some NY style cheese cake.


My wife had a lime tart.

I was so satisfied from my dinner that I had elected to skip dessert
(there is such a thing as having too much pleasure  :)



As we were leaving...
the pillars above the Sky Terrace were jetting natural gas flames.

A fitting end to a wonderful day.










Thursday, August 21, 2014

Alex's Advanced Singles Weight Training



Song:  Nothing Else Matters (Orchestral Fusion Version)

Group:  Metallica / San Francisco Symphony Orchestra


Alex's previous singles weight training program
is still a program which we may return to once in a while...
however, he is now ready for the advanced version.



His previous singles program involved working his way up 
to 25 sets of 80% of his maximum strength output for each particular lift...
and then increasing the weight by 2% - 5% and lowering the sets to 5 or so...
and increasing the number of sets each week by two until 25 sets are reached...
and then repeating this process until the progression slows...
and then a new maximum is established for each lift so a new 80% starting point
is reestablished.

Alex's previous program may be followed for decades as it involves a very slow progression
of weight increases, which allows the tendons, ligaments, and bone to adapt...
along with the muscles.

However, Alex has been adapting well to his previous singles training...
along with his other training (Farmer's Walk / Weighted Nightly Walks).

As Alex is 13 years old...
and his Testosterone levels are now starting to greatly increase...
I want to take advantage of his greatly increased adaptive capabilities...
and so, to move him up to a greatly increased level of intensity of training.

The core of his advanced singles training lies in the much 
increased percentage of his maximum lifts and with a lower number of total sets.

His starting percentage will now be in the 85% - 95% of his previously established
maximum lift...for 10 sets...with a 1-3 minute rest between sets
(a steady increase of his starting weight used over time will eventually
greatly exceed his previous maximum).

This will not be a structured weight increase program...
but one of a comfortable maximum for that particular week.

The program will now be adaptable as to Alex's capability for adaptation.
Some weeks he will only be able to lift 85% for the ten sets...
other weeks he will be able to lift 105% of his previous maximum...
depending on how well his body had adapted.

I always watch carefully as Alex lifts.
The key is to watch the amount of effort used
through the amount of slowing in the lift.

The person lifting should show no visible shaking.
This would be indicative of too much weight being used.

The lift should be smooth and without distortion of form during the lift.

One way is to progressively increase the weight in the warm up portion...
until the maximum amount of weight lifted without undue strain is achieved...
and reduce the weight used by 10% for that week's training weight.

Another fairly easy way to determine that week's maximum training weight...
is to do progressively heavier warm up lifts using doubles 
(two repetitions in rapid succession without rest)...
with only 1 minute rest between the warm up sets.

When the weight becomes too heavy to lift for the doubles smoothly...
on the second lift of the doubles...
that is in the ballpark for that week's singles training weight

(a slowing of the lift is okay.
However, there must be no stuttering of the lift...
the extreme slowing or cessation of forward motion)...

(simply rest for a few minutes...
and begin the singles training for 10 sets).



This program allows the lifter to lift within his body's ability to adapt...
as the amount of weight will naturally fluctuate to his strength levels
for that particular week, and so, will keep a faster rate of growth possible...
as the program will now adapt to him...and will naturally follow
the ebbs and flows of his natural strength increases. 

Unless the weight increase is very slow in a structured program...
the total percentage of maximum must fluctuate according to the 
adaptability of the person.

A strict linear progression of weight is only possible for a relatively short amount
of time before the body starts breaking down faster than it can build
(again, unless the progression is done at a very slow pace 
or with fluctuating sets or reps).

This program should not be started unless 
the previous singles program is well adapted to.

It not only takes time to train the neuromuscular system to achieve
maximum recruitment of muscle fibers...
most critically...
the tendons, ligaments, and the skeletal system must have time to adapt
by thickening (they take much longer to adapt than does muscle).

Using this program takes body knowledge...
knowing what constitutes a comfortable maximum of training weight...
and knowing the feel of adaptation in the body.

If the week's training begins with a feeling of extra energy and vitality...
the body had adapted well.

If one feels not so vigorous...
the body had not adapted...
and so, the amount of training weight used will naturally be less.

If one feels sluggish and weak...
skip that week's session to allow more time for adaptation.

If this happens for two consecutive weeks...
the comfortable maximum is too heavy...
and so, switch to triples for the warm up.
This will naturally set the comfortable maximum to a lower weight.

Again...
as this system naturally follows the adaptation capabilities of the body...
and so, the amount of training weight week by week naturally fluctuates...
this program may be used for greatly extended periods of time
(even for decades if done carefully).

The only great obstacle to progression is of an inexperienced lifter trying to lift too much
with each training week...and so, lifting beyond his capability to adapt.

Again...
if the comfortable maximum lift for the week's training weight 
shows a steady decrease over a few weeks...
the body is not adapting...
and so, a lesser amount of maximum should be used in future training sessions...
or even going back to the previous singles training program may be advantageous.

This type of training builds a great amount of strength...
without extraordinary amounts of mass.

This will build a powerful overall balanced athletic body
with the tendon strength and dense musculature
of a lighter weight Olympic lifter or Olympic wrestler.


Should this program not produce the expected results for Alex...
I shall return to our previous singles weight training program...
as he has had steady increases using it.








Saturday, August 16, 2014

Alex Watches 'The Giver' / Our Subsequent Discussion



Song:  In The Year 2525

Artists:  Zager and Evans




'The Giver' is one of Alex's favorite books...
along with '1984'.


Alex loves utopian and dystopian themed novels.

Last night was the national theater premiere of the movie...
'The Giver'.

As my wife knew how much Alex loved the novel, 'The Giver'...
we decided to go to the late showing of the movie last night.

We first went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant near the theater.

Alex had eaten Unagi Don...
my wife had a Sushi platter...
and I had chosen a Pork Katsu meal.

We had finished our meal near 10:00 PM and we made our way to the theater
with plenty of time to spare, as the movie didn't actually start until almost 11:00 PM
(we ended up not getting home until after 1:00 AM).

We bought our drinks and popcorn...
and had picked out our seats
(when we arrived...there was no one in the theater...
so we had our pick of seats  :)

By the time the movie started...
there were only five other people watching
(And so why we only go to the late night showings.
Usually we are the only ones in the theater  :)


First of all...
we really enjoyed the movie...
especially Alex.

It was refreshing in content and in its simplicity.

It was not bogged down by unnecessary special effects...
and the very simple messages were illustrated very simply
(very simple metaphors throughout the movie...many of which are unsaid). 


Although Alex is still relatively inexperienced 
with close interpersonal interactions as part of society's
accepted norm (which are often wrong as they are generally too superficial)...
Alex is especially keen as to societal implications arising from 
its general philosophy as seen from a macro perspective.

Right away...
you can see the faulty thinking of the, supposed, utopian society.

 It all lies in their faulty premises
(a fundamental Marxist ideology).


Although I had enjoyed the movie...
it was in our drive home that I had really enjoyed the evening.

We had an indepth discussion of not the movie itself...
but of the fundamental faults of the philosophy of the (supposed) utopian society 
and of how real life examples of the portrayed dystopian society exist in modern societies...
and of how many people allow themselves to be herded as if they were sheep (sheeple)...
without forethought...without reason...and do so...willingly.

We talked of how easily people are manipulated...
the reasons they allow themselves to be so easily led and mentally imprisoned...
the methods and mechanisms behind the manipulation...
and modern examples of the manifestations of them in our own society
through the use of a simple shifting of the burden of the argument...
which then leads to divisive (emotional) tactics
and incremental application strategies.

Euphemisms are employed from the beginning to cleanse
and shield those of the particular agenda of evil intent.

A false argument is set up as part of the divisive tactics 
and one of the shifting of the burden of the argument
through the use of one simple PC word
(the favorites being sexism and racism).

When a simple valid extension of their own logic, as demonstrated in their 
incremental application of their fundamentally unsound argument, is shown
to end in an unsound conclusion...
they will then attempt to defend themselves by falsely labeling 
the 'attack' on their unsound argument as being a 'slippery slope' argument.

I had used the example of how even something so plainly wrong as infanticide
may be incorrectly justified in the minds of the sheeple
(they were practicing it in the movie...and it is only one step removed in real life...
even today...in late term abortions...and only until very recently...partial birth abortions...
and I had described how the above mechanisms are actually employed 
in these particular cases).  

You must understand...
I do not make the case against first term abortions...
and, as we are not religious...I do not use a religious argument.  
I argue how late term abortions and partial birth abortions are
absolutely wrong morally.  Just in how we, as a people, may forego
so basic a moral as the sacred bond between mother and child...
and can accept that how the MOST innocent of us all...
may be thought of as the 'property of the woman'...
and so, of how it may be killed and discarded
on nothing more than the excuse of the 'psychological welfare of the mother'...
then anything goes...any moral may be breached out of convenience...
any actions may be justified using these same false arguments...
and how using the same unsound reasoning...
any lesser actions may be justified just by the mere existence
of the viewing of this most egregious action against the innocent...
as being justified.


We had then discussed how a 180 degree turn may be effected 
through the use of incremental changes...
and so, how completely insane actions may be justified
through the solidification of each degree of turn because
of how many people think in specific terms and issues...
instead of taking a macro view through logical inferencing
as a guide and of using sound arguments to establish right from wrong.

We again discussed of how
evil in the world is allowed to be perpetrated time and again...
because people are taught WHAT to think...
instead of HOW to think.

Intelligent, but evil, people commonly use the above 
strategies and tactics in their constant attempt
to manipulate and deceive through the establishment
of 'valid arguments' as opposed to 'sound arguments'.

(although I do not agree with the distinction...
a valid argument may be made...
whether ultimately right or wrong...
by using a false premise...
whereas a sound argument must have a correct premise.
This is how those of evil use higher education to deceive 
(just listen to the many talking heads and deceptive politicians
who sell out our future for their personal wealth, power, and fame).
It is purposeful, and directed, using any means to effect a final result
of herding the masses toward their agenda...at any cost).


We have been teaching Alex basic philosophy...
and logic and reasoning...since he was very young.

The ability to critically reason is the essence of true intelligence.

Basic Philosophy...
is the study of critical reasoning...
of how to think...
of how to discern truth and basic concepts and principles in life...
of how to realize the soundness of morals and values...
and so, how to walk the path of life on a positive spiral...
as opposed to following deceit, false paths, and immorality...
and the negative spiral which lies down such a path.

Philosophy teaches how to lead a moral life...
and so, how to truly live a life filled with meaning and purpose...
not because of what one has been taught to be true...
but because a way has been taught in how to discover truth.





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Selected Korean Dramas To Increase Empathy / Learn Values



Song:  Gymnopedie #1 (Orchestral)

Composer:  Erik Satie



(My wife had taken these photos from our front yard a couple of days ago)

A good Korean Drama plays out like that of a beautiful sunset.
The interesting shape of the clouds are like the characters in the story.

The story progresses as does a sunset.
It initially captures your attention as you can see the potential for the development
of great beauty as the clouds (characters) seem to deepen... 
and then take on ever richening flavors.


You become thoroughly engrossed in the moment as you view the subtle changes
of the expressions of the character's faces...which is as seen in the subtle changes
of the cloud's textures and hues.


As time goes on...
the characters develop more in depth...
and strike you more deeply with each unfolding moment.


The emerging patterns (story line) and the luminescent hues build to a crescendo 
of deep burning and overwhelming emotions...
and, as in some dramas, as is in some sunsets...
they seem to change something inside of you.

The more love and beauty you experience...
the more easily you see and feel it in the future...
and so, the more you carry in your heart.

This is what so enriches life.

This is the building of great, and deep, empathy...
something which is greatly lacking in so many youths nowadays.


I cannot emphasize enough...
 the great value of having a child exposed to examples
of good morals and values in highly emotionally charged 
and beautifully done Korean Dramas.

Korean Dramas are some of the world's best in demonstrating 
close interpersonal interactions...
as masterfully portrayed through the use of closeups showing the subtle facial motions...
especially those of the eyes, to show deep feelings...
often which are portrayed as being suppressed because the emotions run so deeply.

American dramas, movies, and shows emphasize the physical
(Hedonism is frequently emphasized). 

Korean and Japanese dramas emphasize the emotional.
There is deep respect for themselves...and for each other
(A deep love is frequently emphasized).


I love happy endings because that is how all of our goals and lives
 should be engineered to end.

Many people often say that life is not like a drama...
that they are not realistic.

As I often express to others...
reality is what some merely accept as true 
(a cork in the ocean mentality).

OR...

Reality is what we make it to be...
if we have the dream...
the intelligent plan...
and the fortitude to see it through 
(a captain of his ship mentality).

In life...
what we most seek and are open to...
is generally what we end up with.


These Korean Dramas may be seen on internet TV.
 I use HULU Plus as they have a large selection of Korean Dramas.

I consider these to be among the best...
and are available for viewing now on HULU.

These dramas are very chaste...
but I recommend all parents watch them first
so you may decide if to show them to your children.

These dramas give youth a higher level of expectation to shoot for in life...
behavioral patterns to emulate in order to achieve the successful results of the characters...
and examples of the negative results of those with lower standards of behavior...
and so, behavioral traits to avoid in life.


'Spring Waltz'

'Summer Scent'

'Winter Sonata'
(a partially sad ending)

'Autumn in my Heart'
(a tragedy ultimately...
but still well worth watching).

'The Vineyard Man'

'Scent Of A Woman'
(Korean Drama)



And for PG rating:

'Coffee Prince'

'The Snow Queen'


These are the must see dramas to start with.

Each drama is broken into approximately 1 hour episodes...
and each drama is generally 16 - 24 episodes long.

I have been watching great Korean and Japanese Dramas for decades.

I never tire of them...
just as I never tire of a beautiful sunset.




Monday, August 11, 2014

Alex's Leisure Reading: A Beginner's Guide To Mathematical Logic



Song:  In This Place

Group:  Robin Trower


I had included this song because of the surreal sound...
of feeling lost and floating in a void.

This is exactly the feeling I got when I took Symbolic Logic (Mathematical Logic)
while I was in College  :)

Although I loved Psychology and Philosophy...
of all the courses I had taken...
Symbolic Logic made me suffer the most throughout my time 
at College and University.

Although I have no excuse for not doing so well in this course...
there is a reason...
I am a bonehead  :)


Alex is different in this respect.

Mathematical knowledge comes easily to him.


This book was a refresher for him.

He had taken this before...
and so it was pure fun reading for Alex.

He likes to review old subjects once in a while
to test his retainment of his accumulated knowledge.



Alex in his reading spot on the sofa.

He likes to lie here for hours and just read
(our house is always perfectly quiet so he won't have
to suffer through any distractions).

Reading has always been a pleasure for him.
It, both, excites, and relaxes him.

His mother always keeps his library stocked with new books.
Alex and his mother will often shop on Amazon through her computer.

Alex gets to pick out many of his books...
and in a few days...
he has more exciting books to read.


This is an excellent book for those who love Math and Philosophy.

It is an entry point to Symbolic Logic.

In the below screen captures...
the basic content of this book is illustrated.

This is a great book for children who love math.

Alex really enjoyed reviewing with this book.












I cannot impress parents enough on this point:

Reading must be one of the focal points of childhood.

When reading is started from when a baby is able to keep his eyes open
(however, a baby should be read to even before this)...
and the child is given great comfort, affection, and praise as part of reading...
he will grow to associate reading with his pleasurable experiences.

It will make a tremendous difference in later cognitive processes.

By guiding a child through his heart...
he will love to repeat such actions.

He will learn to stimulate his mind through the same activities
as that which had given him so much associated pleasure.

Through such alignment of the heart and mind...
a child will develop a love of learning.

A child who learns because it is considered a chore...
it is from the outside in...
and so, he will eventually tire of it.

A child who develops an inner drive for knowledge...
never stops learning...
because it is a pleasure.








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