For those of you who run Linux, I thought I’d post up a backup script I was using (in a modified form) to do completely free backups of my Linux box to Google drive and Usenet Newsgroups. While both of these might sound like horrible ideas, considering that Usenet is public and Google drive is NSA-land, this backup is highly encrypted locally before being sent out. Also, the Usenet backup makes use of PAR2 to provide some resiliency in case of loss of up to 10% of the posts. All-in-all, I was pretty happy with the solution, but I only use it these days for Linux servers. I've since switched to Crashplan for my Linux desktops, simply due to ease of use.
As for the specifics of what it's designed to do, basically, the goal was to backup all necessary information to restore documents, settings, and reinstall apps in as small of a footprint as possible. The script has these features:
- Saves all installed packages to a file (Package.list) so you can restore all of them with a single command.
- Saves all installed sources to a file (sources.list).
- Saves all installed repository keys to a file (Repo.keys)
- Saves the script itself, along with an optional restore script.
- Puts all of the above info into a 'kernel' backup, which is the bootstrap that you need to restore the full backup. Basically, by restoring the kernel backup, you install all of the necessary software and scripts that allow you to then restore all of your personal data and settings from the main backup.
- Backs up your home folder, using an exclusion list to exclude files, wildcards, and directories that are superfluous (trash, temp folders, etc.) as well as ISO files.
- Stores the home folder backup in a different file which is encrypted separately and (optionally) split (rar), PARed, and double encrypted (RAR and GPG).
- Is intelligent enough to pickup where it left off if interrupted (within reason) or only do the minimum amount of work. For example, if you already performed a Google backup but now want to do a Usenet backup, it won't repeat all of the steps that are the same between the two.
- Does all of the previous while cleaning up any cruft or leftovers from old backups.
- Is fully configurable.
- Will use with newsmangler or newspost for Usenet posting.
Anyhow, the bash script is available here:
Requirements and Usage are in the Readme as well as in the head of the script itself.
Well, my first trip to the track with the GT500 was pretty much a bust. I couldn't get out of the 13's, and only got three runs in total. For the second trip, instead of going to Infineon, we went up to Sacremento Raceway, and boy what a difference! Sac is a lot more 'blue collar' than Infineon, but that's a good thing. This is a typical drag track, with all that entails, but it's run pretty well, and I managed to get 15 runs in in about an hour and a half of hot lapping. I also managed to get the car out of the 13's, with a best ET of the day being a 12.4 @ 113. And this was with granny-shifting second and not being able to pull better than a 2.07 60'. If I can get the 60' down to the 1.6 range, and find a fix to the well known second-gear grind that Ford refuses to address, I can probably get an 11 out of this car yet.
Anyhow, here's a vid of one of the good runs, along with a vid of the second gear grind for those that are curious.
Well, my obsessive listening habits have brought me around to hair metal from time to time (I am a child of the 80’s, after all), and it still shocks me how many obscure gems are out there to discover. So here are five that you probably missed when they came out that you shouldn’t have. Oh, and if you hate hair metal, you probably suck, so don’t write, because I don’t care.
This first one is by John Sykes, and if you like anything off of the Whitesnake album, you will probably love this guys, because he wrote most of the good songs. A dude that still doesn't get his due, well worth checking out.
The next one is from House of Lords, which is another under-appreciated hair metal band full of great musicians. While they got some airplay with some of their other tunes ("Remember My Name" and their masterful remake of "Can't Find My Way Home", for example), I don't think this one ever received any love, and that sucks because it's one of their best.
Technically, this next one isn't old at all (it came out in 2009), but it's very hair metal, so it makes the list. Great tune from a band I'd literally never have heard of if not for last.fm.
Next I've got (believe it or not) a Winger tune that never made it anywhere. Meaningful lyrics and a much more complex song structure than the radio was ready for probably sank this one, but it's an awesome song.
My final song is from one of my favorite hair metal bands, Motley Crue. Interestingly enough, though, this is one of the tunes they did John Corabi in the Motley Crue album. I think that despite the fact that this is one of their best sounding albums, it's not what many fans (me included) think of when they think of Crue, so it bombed. They may have had more success had they named themselves something else. Either way, this is an awesome song.
As I’ll detail in an upcoming post (once I’m sure the dietary protocols are repeatable), I’ve been experimenting with Protein Sparing Modified Fasts (PSMF) in an effort to cut the most fat in the shortest amount of time possible. One of the things I really like about PSMFs are that they cut out all of the fluff, leaving you with the bare minimum you need to sustain your muscle mass and health in the interest of shortening the normally fairly extended pain window associated with dieting down. Anyhow, as part of these experiments, I needed a way to both get protein and Omega 3 I a very slim caloric window, and after reading the landmark new study on rancidity in liquid fish oil products, I needed to find a better method of getting my protein and Omega 3’s than my typical Ogre Juice shakes.
The obvious answer was canned light tuna – 97% protein by weight, with the 3% that isn't protein being high quality Omega fats. However, I then read some research that indicates that tuna is heavily poisoned by mercury, so much so, in fact, that the FDA has issued an advisory on the issue. Now, the FDA’s recommendations are not to eat more than 15 ounces of white tuna (.5 PPM mercury levels) per week, and light tuna typically has lower mercury levels (in the .1 PPM range). However, considering that I need to eat 15 oz of it a day (75 oz a week), I’m still in the danger zone. So I started looking into the alternatives, and it turns out that canned Alaskan salmon is an ideal replacement, as it has only slightly higher caloric content, but considerably more Omega oils, and no major contaminants. It was in researching salmon that I came across Pure Alaska Salmon Co., a family owned company that catches, cans, and sells premium Alaskan salmon.
While looking through their site, I happened to notice that something was amiss with the layout. I sent them an email informing them of the problem, just trying to be a nice guy, but I jokingly mentioned that they could ‘repay me in salmon’ if they so chose. Well, turns out they did, and a few days later, a nice package with a hand-written thank you note arrived at my door:
They sent me a box with seven assorted cans of salmon, and I liked it so much, I thought I’d give it a review.
First, they sent me four varieties of salmon:
- Sockeye salmon fillets
- Sockeye salmon with edible skin and bones
- Pink salmon fillets
- Pink salmon with edible skin and bones
First up, I tried the sockeye (redhead) salmon, and flavor-wise, this is the best of the bunch. The taste is very subtle, but it’s warm and smooth, not salty or sharp at all, and it has that wonderful, distinctive salmon flavor without any fishy aftertaste. Between the fillet and traditional, I prefer traditional, as the edible skin provides a very tasty fatty flavor over the top. However, I’m not a huge fan of the bones, though they are more like cartilage (very easy to chew up, and probably loaded with calcium).
|Redhead salmon with edible skin and bones. The red coloring is natural, and tasty as all hell.|
|Salmon fillets - Pink on the left and redhead on the right|
If you have any interest in canned salmon, I heartily recommend these guys, looks like a great little company and they put out very high quality food.
This week, I got the opportunity to get a training session from the current all-federation raw World Record holder in the 242lb weight class, Dan Green. The session was hugely enlightening, and after taking a few days to let some of it gel in my mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to review my session and his gym, as well as pass along as much of his wisdom as I can (hopefully without mangling it too badly).
First, Dan knows both bodybuilding and powerlifting, and this is obvious from the moment you meet him. The guy is enormous, pictures really do not do him justice. I felt like I had some reasonable size on me, but I feel like a tiny, tiny person beside him.
Second, he is perhaps the nicest, most down-to-earth 'name' I've ever met. He isn't pushy or intimidating, really easy to talk to and work with. And after talking to him about lifting for a few minutes, it becomes immediately apparent that the guy knows what he's talking about.
Regarding his gym, Boss Barbell Club, I was impressed by the variety of equipment and the focused nature of it. He certainly doesn't have every machine in existence, but what he does have seems to be very purposefully chosen. I counted two or possibly three cages, a GHR, dumbells, kettlebells, a chest supported t-bar row, a 50-ish% hack squat machine, a prone hack squat type machine (selectorized), a few pulley-based stations, some ab related stations, and even a yoke (similar to this). Now, most of the equipment has seen a lot of use, but to me that's no big deal. It all looks to be in good repair, and well looked after.
The most impressive thing about the gym however was that it seemed to be a place where people come to train, as opposed to a place where people stand around and admire themselves (or worse, others) or just shoot the shit in between sets of two-man bench pressing (you know, where the one guy is doing an upright row while the other is benching). Chalk is not only OK, it's provided, and I even saw a chalked up bench to keep the back from slipping while benching, just like John Phung might use. Overall, the place has a real good vibe.
Anyhow, my reason for scheduling the time with Dan was to simply soak up as much knowledge from the guy on how to grow my legs and increase my squat and dead as much as possible. Also, since I'm completely self-taught, I wanted to make sure I didn't have any glaring flaws in my form, and I simply couldn't think of anyone who would be more qualified to critique me than a guy who benches my 1RM deadlift for reps.
Regarding my form, I got a green light from him on it until the weight got heavy enough for form to break down, at which point he saw what my weaknesses were and gave me specific corrective advice. Along the way, we discussed a lot of other lifts and general philosophy for someone who wants to be healthy first, huge second, and strong third (my goals, not his). And to make matters even better, I tied my 1RM squat at 425 and set a new 1RM deadlift at 485 on the same day while running on less than 1000 calories a day and doing WAY more volume than I was supposed to.
Anyhow, in no particular order, here are the nuggets Dan was able to impart on me:
- My squat gets very posterior chain dependent when the weight gets heavy, which indicates that my quads are weak. High bar squats, front squats, and hack squats (machine) should be used to correct this, make my quads grow, and bring my squat to new levels. He said this was very similar to the problem he had back when he was squatting in the 600's, and he focused almost exclusively on those three exercises between meets to get his squat to blast past the old plateau. Apropos of this, if you have not checked out his front squat training video, you really owe it to yourself to do so, great video.
- Dan doesn't think much of the leg press as a leg builder. He prefers squat movements and the hack squat machine.
- Regarding the hack squat machine, I've had problems with it wrecking my back. He told me that was because I was treating it like a squat and sitting back, causing my back to jam into the pad. What I should do is pull my butt off the pad and keep it above my feet and in-line with my shoulders. This will also keep me from wrecking my knees.
- While his squat stance looks very wide in pictures, he chooses a stance that lets him get the stretch reflex right at parallel, but also feels comfortable. Since there are no bonus points in powerlifting for going rock bottom, this is the way to be most successful in a meet. When doing high bar squats, he tends to bring his feet in more and go deeper.
- In regards to quad hypertrophy, he advised that I begin doing what he calls 3/4 reps. Basically, this involves going to the bottom, exploding out and accelerating up about half way and then reversing at 3/4 and coming back down for the next rep. This keeps constant tension on the quads and makes the movement more muscularly challenging without increasing the weight, which is good for avoiding injury.
- Also on hypertrophy, he stressed to focus on keeping tension in the muscles you are trying to target to make sure the exercise you are doing is benefiting the bodypart you are doing it for.
- Stretching the muscles and tendons are very important. Going until your muscle is fully stretched (like at rock bottom on a squat) is important to strengthen the tendons and help the muscle grow. And while he doesn't practice 'Extreme Stretching' from DoggCrapp training, he thinks the principles of it are sound.
- Changing exercises often (but not too often) can be good to keep your motivation high and provide new PR opportunities. Again, he seems to agree with DC training's philosophy of pushing a movement until it stalls and then changing to a new movement.
- When he has a long break between meets, he often trains for hypertrophy and chooses movements that shore up his weak points, sometimes to the total exclusion of the competition-style lift (such as swapping out the low bar squat for front and high-bar squats). A few months before the competition, he'll switch back to the competition lift to get back in the groove and break records.
- During lat exercises (pull ups, chin ups, pulldowns, etc.), I tend to have a problem where my arms and grip gets tired before I even begin to feel the movement in my lats. He said this is common, and is due to the sheer size difference between the lats (which are huge) and the arm muscles (relatively tiny). You can help with he grip portion of it by wrapping your pull-up bar with athletic tape. As time goes on, sweat soaks into the tape and the glue seeps out, making it much easier to grip the bar.
- During pull-ups and chins, he suggests going down until you feel your shoulders begin to rise up, and then reverse the lift. He doesn't think going to a full dead hang is necessary.
- One of the keys to deadlifting well is to pull the bar into yourself with your lats. Your lats are strong enough that even on a max deadlift attempt, you should be able to hold the bar hard against your quads using nothing but your lats. This keeps the bar from drifting while avoiding potentially harmful cues like 'pull back instead of up' or 'keep your shoulders behind the bar'.
- When deadlifting, make sure to completely extend your knees before extending your hip. Quad strength should be able to get the bar off the ground, hams/glutes take over after that.
- Sumo deadlifting takes a while to get comfortable with. He suggests beginning by pulling from blocks until you feel comfortable with it. This allows you to take the flexibility portion out of the equation and just get the upright stance of the movement down. He also feels that this is a great strength builder, as it allows you to get used to handling a lot of weight.
- Use your warmups as practice reps. Perform them with the same intensity and focus as you will your work sets, and avoid the temptation to breeze through them.
- Pausing in the hole during warmups can be very helpful to build tightness in the trunk.
- His take on Rippetoe is very similar to Greg Nuckols take on him, which I found incredibly interesting.
- Low bar squats build upper leg mass, namely the hip flexors, glutes, and hams, while front squats focus more on the quadriceps, and especially the Vastus Medialis.
- He advised me to buy and begin using a belt, which I will do, despite my skepticism on it. He did say to only use it for my heaviest sets, and to occasionally train without it, which makes me feel better about it, however.