Brian's Notes

Thoughts on Stuff and Junk

Kindle Books or Physical Copies?

For my recent 40th birthday (yeah, yeah, I’m old) my wife got me one of those new Kindle Paperwhites. It is awesome. I love the size, the screen, everything.


After some thought about book ownership, and some recent events in the news where some people are getting their entire Kindle library wiped due to terms infringement. I’ve been wondering about this whole digital book concept. Or, more specifically, the Amazon controlled book library.

I love the idea of the Kindle, and I love it’s execution, but I’m having a hard time buying into the whole deal. It really makes me nervous and doesn’t make me want to buy too many books on that thing. Not to mention I really like the idea of a physical library of books you’ve read or intend on reading.

If you have any opinion or advise, please comment on this post.

The Most Dangerous Risk

The most dangerous risk of all - the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.

So, what are you doing?

Hitting the 4 Mile Mark

Since trying to get into barefoot running I just haven’t been able to eek out the miles that I use to. Training your body for the change requires your running to be broken into intervals of walking and running, this eases your legs and feet into the new stride. A side affect of this can be a lessening of your overall endurance since you’re only able to push out a mile or two at a time.

Today I decided to put on my old non-barefoot shoes and make sure I hadn’t lost any of the endurance I had built up. Since I broke into the 4 mile mark it looks like I still have it. :)

Imminent Domain Change

In my last post I mentioned renaming the blog to “Burning at 110%”. So far I’m really digging the name, actually so much so that I went and registered the domain! Soon this site will load strictly from and will simply redirect.

I also registered, but since shorter domains are always preferred I have that domain redirecting to

All of this has my mind churning away at ideas for this site… hopefully big things are afoot! :)

A New Name and Blog System

If you’ve been here before, which you probably haven’t since this site gets hardly any traffic, you’ll notice things look a tad different, and hopefully notice a large speed boast. At least I do!

The Tech

This site used to run on WordPress. Now, WP isn’t bad, but I’ve never been a big fan. It’s always felt slow and cumbersome to use, and I’ve always wanted to find a better solution.

Then came a blog post by an Internet friend of mine Hendrik Morkel of Hiking in Finland that sparked my interest in a “hacker” style blogging system called Octopress.

What it produces is a static HTML version of your entire site that it then posts up to your hosting provider. This is different from the WordPress model where you install the software on the server, then login and use their “admin” tool to manage your site off from a database. Each page load in WordPress has to access this database and, on the fly, build the HTML that’s loaded into your browser (I know, this is nerdy). Octopress does all this heavy lifting from your computer itself, then uploads standard ole' HTML files. This mean zero processing load on your server (aside from the negligible resources needed to server HTML).

In the end this makes the site faster… way faster.

Along with that mojo comes a “responsive design”, which means that it’s flexible based on the screen size (more accurately the browser size) you’re viewing the site in. This means the site will look nice on all devices big and small. Bonus.

The workflow takes some getting used to though. You don’t just log into the “admin” and crank out a blog post. Since the posts are held on your computer you write there. Take for instance, right now, I’m writing this post in iA Writer on my computer. Once done writing this post I’ll save it off, generate the new site, and post it to the server. It may seem like a lot of hoops to jump thru just to post something on the site, but what it gives you is the ability to write anywhere you want, in whatever software you want. And, since it’s already on your computer it’s automatically saved locally and not on the site itself (makes for a nice archive of your writing). Add into the mix a Dropbox account, or saving your posts in iCloud, and you have an automated way to keep all your blog posts backed up and safe!

The New Name

I’ve been struggling to find a name for this site, something other than my name. Not only is that totally unoriginal, but it feels egotistical, maybe that’s just me, but it just feels that way. Regardless, for the most part I’ve just used the “subtitle” as the name: “Budo Purveyor”, “Random Ramblings”, and then “I just burn at 110%”.

That last one came from a twitter exchange I had with my wife and Brian Green where I was describing how it’s hard for me to not push myself to my limits. So, take that, massage it a little, and you get “Burning at 110%”. I like it, I think it adequately describes me and how I go about the things in my life. The jury is still out on whether that’s a good thing or not. :)

What do you think? Post a comment!

System Setup Change?

Currently, I use my 13" MacBook Pro as a second screen next to my 24" (1920x1200) monitor, but, I’ve been kicking around the idea of dropping down to just the laptop.

I’m just getting tired of constantly unplugging everything from my laptop whenever I want to carry it off. Last year I actually did this very thing and it lasted quite a while, maybe a few months.

Way back in 2009, when I bought this laptop, I debated heavily whether I should get the 13" or 15" model. My previous MacBook Pro was a 15" model and I absolutely loved it, but I was wanting something more portable. These days I’ve been kicking myself that I didn’t go with the larger screen. If I had that laptop I probably wouldn’t have even picked up the external monitor.

Going from 24" + 13" worth of screen real estate down to just the 13" will be a challenge, but, I’ll just lean on full screen apps and spaces more.

U.S. Army Ranger Prep Workout

This is another entry in the series showcasing U.S. Military preparation workouts. Just like the SEALs post before it, I don’t remember where I found this. It’s just something I’ve had stored off for a long time. Anyway, enjoy!

Week 1

Day 1: A. 100 meter swim (nonstop, any stroke, do not swim on back or touch the side or bottom or the pool). B. Forced march with rucksack (¼ body weight); 3 miles in 45 mins along a road or 1 hr. cross country.

Day 2: A. Stationary bike; 20 minutes at 70% heart rate. B. Side straddle Hop or Jump rope 10 minutes (work toward nonstop).

Day 3: A. 3 sets (maximum repetitions) of push-ups in 30 seconds. B. 3 mile run (moderate, 8-9 minute pace). C. Rope Climb/or 3 sets (maximum repetitions) of chin-ups. D. Forced march with rucksack (¼ body weight); 5 miles in 1 hr 15 min along the road or 1 hr 40 min cross country.

Day 4: A. Stationary bike; 20 minutes at 70% heart rate. B. 40 yard sprints (10 times; 30 second rest). C. 15 meter swim.

Day 5: A. Forced march with rucksack (¼ body weight), 5 miles in 1 hr 15 min along road or 1 hr 40 min cross country.

Day 6: A. 3 sets push-ups and sit ups (max repetitions in 30 seconds). B. 3 sets chin-ups (max repetitions). C. 200 meter swim.

Day 7: REST.

Week 2

Day 1: A. Forced march rucksack (1/3 body weight); 8 miles in 2 hrs along road or 2 hrs 40 min. cross country.

Day 2: A. Stationary bike; 20 minutes at 70% heart rate.

Day 3: A. 3 sets (maximum repetitions) of push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups in a 35 second period. B. Run 5 miles (moderate 8-9 minute pace). C. 3 sets (30-50 each) of squats with rucksack (¼ body weight). Go down only to the point where the upper and lower leg form a 90 degree bend at knee.

Day 4: A. 300-meter swim, nonstop; any stroke but not on your back.

Day 5: A. Forced march with rucksack (1/3 body weight); 10 miles inn 3 hrs along road or 4 hrs cross country.

Day 6: A. 3 sets (maximum repetitions) of push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups in a 35 second period. B. Stationary bike; 20 minutes at 80% heart rate. C. 15-meter swim.

Day 7: REST

Week 3

Day 1: A. 4 sets (maximum repetitions) of push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups in a 40 second period. B. Run 4 miles (fast to moderate 7-8 minute mile). C. 4 sets (50 each) of squats with rucksack (1/3 body weight). Go down only to the point where there is a 90 degree bend at knee

Day 2: A. Stationary bike; 20 minutes at 80% heart rate. B. Jump rope or Side straddle Hop 12 minutes (work towards nonstop).

Day 3: A. Forced march; 12 miles with rucksack (1/3 body weight or 60 lbs, whichever is greater) in 3 hrs along road or 4 hrs cross country.

Day 4: A. Swim 400 meters.

Day 5: A. 4 sets (maximum repetitions) of push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups in a 40 second period. B. Run 6 miles (fast to moderate 7-8 minute mile).

Day 6: A. Stationary bike; 20 minutes at 80% heart rate. B. Jump rope or Side Straddle Hop 10 minutes nonstop. C. 15-meter swim.

Day 7: REST

Week 4

Day 1: A. Forced march; 8 miles rucksack (1/3 body weight or 60 lbs, whichever is greater) in 2 hours along road or 2 hrs 40 min cross country.

Day 2: A. Swim 400 meters. B. 4 sets dips (max repetitions). C. 4 sets (maximum repetitions) of push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups in a 40 second period.

Day 3: A. Run 6 miles (fast to moderate 7-8 minute pace). B. 3 sets (8-12 reps) leg presses, heel raises, leg extensions, leg curls.

Day 4: A. 4 sets (maximum repetitions of push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups in a 40 second period. B. Stationary bike; 25 minutes at 80% maximum heart rate.

Day 5: A. Forced march; 12 miles with rucksack (1/3 body weight or 75 lbs, whichever is greater) in 3 hrs along road or 4 hrs cross country.

Day 6: A. 4 sets (maximum repetitions) of push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups in a 40 second period. B. Jump rope; 15 minutes nonstop.

Day 7: REST

Week 5

Day 1: A. Run 3 miles (fast 6-7 minute mile pace). B. 500 meter swim (nonstop, any stroke but not on your back). C. 3 sets (8-12 reps) leg presses, heel raises, leg extensions, leg curls

Day 2: A. Jump rope or Side Straddle Hop 12 minutes nonstop.

Day 3: REST

Day 4: A. swim 400 meters B. 4 sets dips (max repetitions).

Day 5: A. Forced march; 18 miles with rucksack (1/3 body weight or 75 lbs, whichever is greater) in 4 hrs 30 min along road or 6 hours cross country.

Day 6: A. 4 sets (maximum repetitions) of push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups in a 40 second period. B. Jump rope or Side Straddle Hop 12 minutes, nonstop.

Day 7: REST

Barefoot Running, a Beginner's Perspective

Barefoot or minimal shoe running seems to be all the rage these days with nearly every shoe company making something for this new market. Some may view it as a fad, but all you have to do is step back and look at it from a historical viewpoint to see that it’s anything but a fad. We aren’t born with space age fancy air-gel-soles on our feet with super arch support and a padded heel. Why would we, now, suddenly in the last 50 to 100 years, need such inventions just to get by doing what we’ve been doing for a million years?

The biggest difference seems to be in the type of running technique we employ, fore (or mid) foot striking vs. heel striking.

It seems clear to me that we weren’t meant to heel run, just look at the body position and dynamics of it. If you’re striking with your heel you’re also straight legged, this transfers all of that road shock through each joint until it dissipates. Ultra padded soles have to be worn to protect our joints from this impact, and all it really does is soften it. Seems if your body needs something as new as a padded sole you’re doing something wrong. Or at the very least something your body wasn’t meant to do. Just stand up, and with no shoes on, very slightly hop on your heels. Hurts doesn’t it?

On the other hand look at what happens when you run on the balls of your feet. Your foot strike almost requires a bent knee using the ankle as a fulcrum. Which along with the strength in your calf produces a second class lever with a great, built in, shock absorber. Now, do the same standing exercise only now hop on the balls of your feet. Notice the difference?

Look at phrases you typically hear in other sports: “Stay on your toes”, “You were caught on your heels” and “Drive forward”. How do you drive forward on your heels?

I ran track all through my jr. and high school years, as a sprinter. Something that struck me right away with barefoot running was how much it reminds me of sprinting. From the shoes to the stride. Sprinter’s shoes have almost zero heel to toe angle, no arch & ankle support, and are almost the definition of minimal. Now, I didn’t do any real distance running in those shoes, but they were far from the normal running shoe.

As for the stride, when sprinting you’re taught to jut your foot straight out in front of you and then pull the foot back angling the ball of your foot down slightly, as if you’re a dog digging a hole or a cat pawing at a mouse. The foot strike happens under your hips and then pushes you forward by completing the stride. You’re also suppose to lean forward slightly which I think opens your hips up to more fully extend that foot backward (opening your stride). Shifting your weight forward also creates almost a falling affect on your body, this helps with efficiency and speed.

During my last barefoot training interval (5 minutes walking, 5 minutes running) I really started noticing that sprinter stride coming out. Before I knew it I was on a 8:30 pace, where my normal pace is around the 10:00 mark. I slowed down a bit since this is just interval training to ease myself into running barefoot. But, it did show me that once you get things set you really can move like this, and comfortably too.

If you’re new to this style of running you have a lot of old/bad habits learned over time, and your muscles aren’t used to running like this, so you have to go slow. My first time out I pushed myself too hard and ended up sidelined for days waiting for my calves to recover. Don’t do this! Ease into it, your legs and feet will thank you.

All in all I’m enjoying getting into what I consider a more true running form. As a long time knee pain sufferer I’m also hoping it helps me reduce pain and injury. I can’t wait to see what happens when my body is fully in tune with running barefoot!

The Riding, the Running, the Eating, and the Heat.

So, what have I been up to? Let’s break it down…

The Riding

I’ve been trying to get on the bike at least once a week and put in 25+ miles. Even though I’ve developed an irritating pull in my left leg (hollow of the knee) I’m keeping at it. It’s been really enjoyable getting back on the road and I’m hoping to push past 30 miles soon and then on to 40.

The bike is in need of some maintenance and I need some new bar tape (the right side is duct taped on) but all in all it’s functioning great! On the other hand, I need some new riding shorts and shoes… as in, seriously need some new stuff. My shorts are probably 15 years old, and my shoes are probably over 10 years old. Yikes.

The Running

Along with increasing my riding, I’m putting more effort into my running. I’ve been doing a decent job of getting out there every other day or so and I can tell it’s paying off. Runs aren’t nearly as painful or grueling as they have been, even with my increased mileage. Yesterday I bought a pair of barefoot shoes to try to take some pressure off my joints and get into a better running posture. I’m easing into them, and this morning I only put in a mile, but boy my calves ache! Something is happening! More on this change in another post.

The Eating

The Latest in Paleo podcast has been in my usual rotation for some time now, but finally we’re starting to actually change over to that diet. We’re still getting started and learning, so I’m sure we’re making mistakes… But I know one thing, we’re eating better. Along with the diet change we’ve cut down our going-out dinners to only one a week. And that one has to be somewhat healthy and worth it. The thing that’s wild about paleo is that bread is bad, but bacon is good… How can that diet be wrong?! :)

The Heat

Here in Michigan we’ve been having day after day of record breaking temperatures. With almost zero rain in over a month and 3 or 4 consecutive 100+ degree days it’s been hard to do anything but sit inside in the AC. I’ve been trying to still get out there but it’s proven difficult with daily severe heat warnings. I did 25 miles on the bike the morning of July 4th but have been suffering a headache since… and I drank nearly all of my Camelbak bladder’s (100cc) water! As I type this it’s 98 out and climbing… glad I did my run this morning when it was only in the mid to high 80s :)

What about The Shooting? Well, we just haven’t had time to get to the range, and with this heat we’ve been just hanging tight. That being said I’m eyeing some tactical shooting classes coming up and possibly getting my CPL!

Taking a Leave of Absence

I’ve been studying Aikido since October of 2007. After putting in a tremendous amount of time and effort training I was able to get to Shodan (black belt) by August of 2010.

That’s no small feat. It took work and sacrifice, maybe too much…

Since just before my Shodan test I’d been wanting to slow down and ease back on my training. I could see the signs of burnout and was trying to avoid it. Well, I tried to pull back but found it difficult in the world of a dojo and it’s many activities and seminars. I was still going in twice a week and later even picked up another martial art called Kenjutsu. It was a slightly more relaxed pace, but still fairly demanding.

Before Aikido I used to ride my mountain bike or road bike, go on hikes, or go for an occasional run, etc., etc…. After Aikido I did none of those things. I really had no intention of stopping them, but that’s what happens when you get caught up in something like Aikido, it can consume you. The last time I went to Chicago for anything OTHER than Aikido was, I think, 2006. The same goes for Ann Arbor (the latest IKEA trip doesn’t count) and Lansing.

Now, nearly 5 years later, I’ve found myself totally burned out and needing to take a stand to reclaim the things I lost. That’s seriously how it feels… it sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But, once you get wrapped up into a dojo and it’s organization it can be brutally hard to pull away.

That’s what I did today, I put myself “on leave” for the next few months in order to reflect and evaluate my commitment to Aikido and the sacrifices it requires of me. It wasn’t easy to do, but the status quo was not working for me. But then, reclaiming lost joys isn’t the only reason why I’m doing this… Life is getting crazy busy and I just simply can’t fit it all in, not without going crazy.

As Yudansha our training changes, maybe for the better… maybe not. It’s my task to determine if it works for me and my life.

“Why are we here?” “Why do we train?” “Why do we get on the mat?” - Those are questions I’ve been asked to meditate on and that is what I shall do.