Halt and Catch Fire – Up Helly Aa (Survival of the Fittest)

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Written By Ryan Fu @fu_beatz

Another great episode of Halt and Catch Fire with its amazing acting and story lines leading to fantastic season ending finale next week. “Survival of the fittest” is a phrase that originated in evolutionary theory as an alternative way of describing the mechanism of natural selection. It is more commonly used today in other contexts, to refer to a supposed greater probability that “fit” as opposed to “unfit” individuals will survive some test. Charles Darwin thought survival of the fittest expressed in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called ‘natural selection’, or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life.” This is the case of tonight’s episode, as the characters have to make a decision if they want to compete with its competitors, in which they have to adapt or die.

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The Cardiff finally makes it to Las Vegas to Comdex after a long car ride, where Joe tells a weird story about how a bunch of Vikings would build a bunch of boats then have a festival to light them on fire, which will make perfect sense in the end of the episode. At Comdex they find out they don’t have a room to stay at or a booth to show their projection, but they’ve come to far to fail. They find a room and find a booth, which Cameron makes a cool marketing art projection to generate buzz for The Giant. Everything seems like its going Cardiff’s way but nothing is easy in this world, especially for the things you want the most.

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As Donna’s former boss, Hunt with their neighbor, Brain, unveils a faster and cheaper version of The Giant, calling it the Slingshot. A reference to the Greek mythology if David and Goliath. In his speech to the crowd as well as the Cardiff team that it doesn’t matter how big or fast it is, it only matters who strikes first. Donna goes Jerry Springer on Hunt, leading Gordon to believe that she had an affair with him.

One of the best scene of the episode with great acting on both sides with Gordon trying to figure out if Donna cheated on him but more importantly if she told him how to build The Giant. Donna fires right back with Gordon’s accusations telling him she should have have cheated on with Hunt because at least she would’ve felt alive because she has been feeling neglected because Gordon has spent so much time creating The Giant. A great scene about two people, who invested so much of their lives for a project that potentially can change their lives for the better. But the team has to decide if they want still want to compete or try to stand out with its competitors.

Adapt or Die.

Gordon re-configures The Giant taking out Cameron’s Operation System making if faster and cheaper than The Slingshot. Cameron desperately wants Joe to put back the OS because she feels like it’s just other machine without any uniqueness or soul but Joe knows that they are dead in the water if they don’t compete with The Slingshot. Gordon and Joe show up at their both with the “soulless Giant,” telling the crowd that its faster and cheaper than The Slingshot but more importantly it will do what you asks it to do because it’s just a machine, it’s not your friend, but your employee.

The speech wins the crowd over which leads them to potential buyers for The Giant but the Cardiff team minus Cameron, felt empty after their small victory at Comdex. You get the sense that they reached their goal by showing their invention to the world but did they really show everything they got? What I mean was their goal just to sell a portable computer or change the world?

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In Joe’s speech at Comdex he tells the crowd that the computer is just a machine, it’s just something you use and it’s not your friend. But at the end of the episode Joe goes into a crowded hotel room with a bunch of people watching the unveiling of the new Apple computer, which it looked like a scene from Frankenstein as we see the computer power up and amazingly talks to the crowd. Everyone is astonished including Joe, uttering to member of the crowd, “It talks?”

I feel like Joe made a mistake in taking out Cameron’s OS because it was they’re big chance to show people that computer’s could be so much more than machines but I also understand it was for the good of the team. Joe and Gordon had to adapt because their lives are on the line. Pablo Picasso once said, “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” Maybe this is why the Vikings have a festival where they built their beautiful boats only to burn them down. Because they knew like every other artists knows that if you are going to build or create anything you must destroy the old version in order for your creation to blossom.

Fu’s Observations:

  • Old School Las Vegas is so much cooler looking
  • Cameron could have been a Performance Artists with her “Chained up Suit case.”
  • I called it; Comdex is a sex/porn convention for nerds!
  • Cardiff’s party reminded of Tom Hank’s Bachelor Party but they didn’t have a donkey.
  • Windows’ bugginess! Touch screens are a fad! High density floppy discs! They also forgot to mention Pogs.
  • Hunt is poor man version of Joe without the fashion sense.
  • Did I hear right that Cameron stole a piece of the Hoover Dam?!!

CHECK OUT OUR H & CF REVIEWS

Giant (Pressure makes Diamons and weeds out the Timid)

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Brain Ninjas – Guess which Celebrity this is in Costume? Happy Comic Con Day 3

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Photo Credit: Ryan Fu

COMIC CON – DAY 2 CELEBRITIES (PART 1) Kevin Smith, Adam West, Robert Rodriguez plus more

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Brain Ninjas – Guess which Celebrity this is in Costume? Happy Comic Con Day 2

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Photo Credit: Ryan Fu

How can you spot a Crossfitter? Just look at their hands – Tips on treating Calluses on your hands

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CrossFitters often revel in the fact that our workouts have bloodied our hands. “We’re such badasses! We’re SO hardcore!” But let’s call a spade a spade:  IT IS NOT “COOL” TO HAVE CHUNKS OF OUR SKIN RIPPED FROM OUR HANDS.

Flayed skin is not a badge of bad-assery. It does not mean that you are tougher or better at working out. And it most definitely does not mean that CrossFit, lifting and/or gymnastics should be avoided because of the possibility that the skin on your hands might get torn.

All it means is that:

  • You’re a soft-handed newbie who hasn’t yet had the chance to build up thicker skin on your fingers and palms to protect them from tearing, or 
  1. You’re not giving your hands the T.L.C. they need to keep from getting shredded. 

Torn skin is painful and annoying, and may put you out of commission for a spell. And THAT is unequivocally un-hardcore.

My first encounter with shredded hands occurred shortly after starting CrossFit, back when the roughest activity my hands saw was an occasional difficult-to-open jar of spaghetti sauce. And my latest (and greatest) rip was during yesterday’s Mary WOD, after neglecting proper hand care for weeks. Over the past year, I’ve experienced minor tears and major ones. In this post, I’m going to discuss what I could (and should) have done to prevent bloody hand, and what treatment options are available to those of us unfortunate enough to gash open our hands doing high-rep pull-ups, kettlebell snatches and the like.

Hand Grooming 

Those who are new to gymnastics, weightlifting or CrossFit in general often start with soft, callus-free hands. Ideally, to reduce the likelihood of hand tears, beginners should try to gradually build up calluses (through — what else? — handling bars) to the point where the skin on their palms and fingers are tough and thick — but smooth. Once some skin-thickening is achieved, the goal is to keep any calluses filed down. The goal is have a consistent, smooth palm surface, without noticeable ridges or fluctuating thicknesses of skin. A raised, rough callus will eventually blister and tear away from the surrounding skin, ripping open your hands and making a bloody mess. A general rule of thumb: If you can pinch a raised edge of the callus, it needs to be filed down. Constant vigilance and regular hand care is key to preventing tears.

You can use a number of different tools to keep your calluses in check, including:

  • A nail file; 
  • A callus/corn shaver;
  • Cuticle scissors; 
  • A pumice stone; 
  • A dull razor blade; 
  • Sandpaper; 
  • A butter knife; or A Dremel tool(!)

Grip & Technique  

A lot of CrossFitters rip open their hands doing high-rep bar movements: kipping pull-ups, clean-and-jerks, snatches. But there are ways to tweak your technique to reduce the chances of a nasty tear.

First, use the right grip.

When working with a barbell, some folks are inclined to grip the bar across the middle of their palms. This, unfortunately, squishes the fleshy pad below the base of your fingers against the bar, causing discomfort, added friction, blisters, and worse. A better way to go is to grip the barbell across the base of your fingers — where the metacarpals meet the proximal phalanges.

Treatment

I’m using Neosporin, but there are, of course, lots of other remedies that people swear by, including:

Credit FitBomb

Happy Motivation Monday!!! – Beast Mode

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Brain Ninjas – Find out which tool is out of place

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(Hint: It’s a tool to protect but can be dangerous in the wrong hands)

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Age is just a Number – The Deadlifting (Great, Great) Grandma

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Three years ago, Jean Stewart began to feel old. A proud woman, she realized she needed to make a change in her life to improve her long-term health.

“I see people who are stooped over and old, in their 60s and 70s,” Stewart says. “I don’t want to be that way. I was losing function for everyday living, stooped over and lifting things improperly. I just wanted to live my life (and be) healthy.”

As a retired physical education teacher, she’s always had a passion for fitness, but became bored in physical therapy-type exercise classes. Worst of all, she was tired of being treated like an old person who was incapable of physical activity. So, at the age of 83, Stewart decided to reinvent herself.

“She came walking into the gym with our newspaper ad folded under her arm and handed it to us,” remembers Cheryl Cohen, founder, owner and head trainer of Desert CrossFit in Palm Desert, Calif. “I asked her what she wanted from CrossFit and she said, ‘Well, I would like an easier time in the garden, getting down and getting back up again. I’d like to be able to move the 20-lb. bag of potting soil.’”

Unsure of the environment she’d entered, Stewart figured she had nothing to lose. Cohen assured her she could thrive at Desert CrossFit.

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Credit: Huntersville Crossfit

Train, Eat, Rest, Repeat – Does Kinesiology Tape really work?

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If you watched the recent Crossfit Games, there is a good chance you noticed some athletes donning multi-colored tape strips and patches on various body parts. It was quite noticeable on those more scantily-clad, such as beach volleyball and track and field athletes. In fact, one volleyball gal looked like she had the Michigan football “winged” helmet decal emblazoned across her abs.

This stuff is called Kinesiology or Kinesio tape. A bit of history: 

Kinesio tape has actually been around for quite a while. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist, designed the tape and taping method back in 1979. Kase believed a flexible tape would stimulate better circulation to an injured muscle due to its tug on the skin. Traditional tape and taping methods were thought to be too restrictive and even exacerbate injuries as a result of the inhibited flow of inflammatory fluids under the skin.

Does Kinesio tape actually expedite recovery from muscle injury, or is it also used to enhance performance? If solely used for injuries, there must have been dozens of wounded Olympians competing. My guess is the tape is used for performance benefits as well. If so, does it work or is it yet another gimmick one must use to “keep up with the Joneses?”

A study conducted in Italy attempted to determine the immediate effects of kinesio taping on maximal muscle strength of the dominant quadriceps of 36 healthy subjects. Subjects were tested across three different sessions, randomly receiving three experimental kinesiotaping conditions:

Tape applied with the goal of enhancing muscle strength.

Tape applied with the goal of inhibiting muscle strength.

Tape applied incorrectly with the goal to deceive.

Quadriceps muscle strength was measured by means of an isokinetic maximal test performed at 60 and 180 degrees per second. Two secondary outcome measures were also performed: a one-leg triple jump for distance to measure leg performance and the Global Rating of Change Scale to calculate the correlation between the Kinesio taping technique and the subjective perception of strength.

Here is what they found: 

None of the three taping conditions showed a significant change in muscle strength and performance. The effect size was very low under all conditions. Only a few subjects showed an individual change greater than the minimal detectable change. Global Rating of Change Scale scores demonstrated low to moderate correlation with the type of taping applied, but some placebo effects were detected independent of the condition.

This study concluded no significant effect in maximal quadriceps strength immediately after the application of enhancing, inhibiting, or deceptive Kinesio taping. Therefore, the test results do not support the use of Kinesio taping as a means of altering maximal muscle strength in healthy people.

That stated, there are also those skeptical about the Kinesio taping’s effect. According to Dr. Nicholas Fletcher, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Emory University, there are few large scientific studies regarding its effectiveness. Dr. Fletcher stated, “I think, if anything, there is a placebo effect involved, and there probably is a little bit of a peer pressure effect. When people see athletes who are doing so well, they think, ‘Maybe this could work for me.’”

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What Makes kinesiology tape Special? – Elasticity

In most cases, kinesiology tape is comprised of flexible nylon and cotton fibers; this allows the tape to provide a “snap-back” effect, producing a neuromuscular response underneath the skin where the tape is applied. Through recent fascial research, it has been shown that pulling on the skin can create widespread effects within the body.

Myofascia is a very important piece in the taping game (this is what you are effecting when you roll out and mobilize). Obviously, the health of your myofascia is pivotal to promoting proper movement patterns. When kinesiology tape is applied to the skin, it creates a neurological response, providing a change in the way that my0fascia functions, thus changing the way that movement patterns are performed. We can essentially allow for better muscle activation and promote better movement patterns with the support of kinesiology tape.

This elasticity also creates a lifting effect on the skin to allow for better lymphatic drainage and blood flow. These are two pivotal components in allowing for swelling drainage and tissue nutrient restoration during the healing process.

Adhesive

Kinesiology tapes use a superior adhesive (it varies depending on the tape brand) that allows for superior support over long periods of time and under extreme conditions. This adhesiveness allows for the tape to withstand water, sweat, mud, etc. without coming off or losing support. The brands above promote the fact that you can, in fact, go swimming wearing kinesiology tape.

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Pain Reduction

How is this possible? Kinesiology tape provides a stimulus in the skin that externally supports damaged tissue and allows for better circulation for faster healing. This is why wearing tape after intense workouts or acute injuries provides faster recovery.

Lymphatic Drainage/Swelling Reduction 

Kinesiology tape is unique in its ability to create a lifting effect on the skin to allow for better lymphatic drainage in areas of swelling. This can have a dramatic effect on recovery time after a workout and healing of damaged tissue after injury.

Muscle Activation

One of the most important aspects of rehabilitation is movement. This is pivotal because it provides blood flow and drainage in the areas of injury to allow for faster healing. It also reduces the amount of muscle atrophy or withering away that can occur after and injury. White athletic tape restricts range of motion and deactivates muscles; whereas, kinesiology tape promotes muscle activation, while maintaining support. This allows for proper movement patterns even with injury and allows for a much faster healing process.

Things come and go in the fitness industry – ankle weights, salt tablets, compression garments, toning shoes, sauna suits, ad nauseam. Some even come back. Kinesio taping may be the classical case of revisiting the past.

Does Kinesio taping facilitate recovery for injured muscles? I do not know. Does it enhance athletic performance? We need more research to determine that. What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Credit: Breaking Muscle Tabata Times

Fitness Friday’s – Crossfit and Philosophy (Bruce Lee)

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Life is never stagnation. It is constant movement, unrhythmic movement, as we as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go