Mr. Charlton – Yoga Master

Besides the fact that I tend to walk everywhere, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve actually done any exercise. Every once and a while I’ll get the inkling to do some pull ups or some crunches, but it’s been, shucks, it’s been over a decade since I actually had a workout routine. I’m what a lot of fitness buffs would call ‘skinny fat’, but these days it’s leaning a little more to the fat side than the skinny.

So, with Kat’s help, I’ve been slimming down with a better diet. Thankfully, my speedy metabolism is still firing and kicking, so the pounds are already starting to shed. I’ve parked the car, and once again, I’m walking around and getting some air. There’s one thing that’s been missing; stretching.

Most of my free time is spent sitting in front of a computer screen. It’s where I like to work, and it’s where I like to play. I sit, on average, for about 90% of the time I’m not moving from one area or working. This has wreaked havoc on my hips. My weasel-like ability to bend and flex has all but disappeared. My cat-like reflexes are now only apparent in online death-matches.

Me and Kat have been looking for an activity we could both do. The only issue is our schedules. My schedule isn’t evening friendly, and there’s little chance I can commit to a program later in the night. If we’re going to do an activity together, then it has to be something we can do at home.

Enter yoga. Good for the body, good for the brain, and good for the soul if you have one. Kat’s done yoga in the past, and was super excited that I was on board to sit on a mat and do a bunch of stretching. Last weekend, we went to the store and I picked up a yoga mat. With a rubbery piece of foam, some shorts, and my willingness to do anything twice, I started doing yoga a few days ago.

Yoga is totally kicking my ass, by the way.

Right off the bat, the shorts I picked aren’t really sports wear. I figured, ‘Hey, shorts. I can work out in these’. I was wrong. The first lesson taught me that doing the kind of stretching I was doing was something I haven’t prepared for. Like, I don’t own any active wear. I thought shorts were active wear, and I was wrong.

Now, rather than put off yoga until I got some proper attire, I decide to step up to the mat and dress down a little. Needless to say, I’ve been doing yoga in my underwear. So here I am, almost halfway through thirty, sitting on a yoga mat, bending in way I haven’t bent since I was about eight, in my skivvies. Oh, and I’m working up a sweat, too.

I just want that mental image implanted in your brain. A slightly pudgy, grunting, perspiring, greasy Mr. Charlton rolling around on a cheap mat I got from some conglomerate chain store. Hopefully you are now paying attention.

But here’s the thing. Even though I’ve only sat through two 30 minutes sessions so far, I’m already starting to feel a little better. My arms and legs are a little bendier. Sitting at the computer here mashing at the keyboard doesn’t feel so rough on my hips. I’m a little more focused. And tonight, before I go to bed, I plan on hitting the mat once again.

Yoga gets Mr. Charlton’s seal of approval. If you are a desk jockey like me, if you spend your days as a keyboard warrior, typing your typpie types into the type pad, then I fully recommend yoga. In fact, if I were a large firm, I’d make 20 minutes of yoga almost mandatory.

It might seem a little presumptuous to make bold claims like this after only two sessions, but I’m the kind of guy who make bold claims all the time. And honestly, after being an arm chair cowboy for over a decade, having a big old stretch in the morning is a great way to start the day.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Alright, so I’m baiting people with the headline “Yoga Master”. Sue me.

p.s..s. Seriously, it’s a pretty good workout. You find yourself doing a lot of planking. Good for the core!

p.s.s.s. I’m digging doing yoga in the raw, by the way. Sure, I could go buy some stretchy pants, but doing it in the ol’ underoos makes me feel like a tough hombre.

Mr. Charlton Builds a Computer

I received my computer Tuesday and after work, chores, making dinner, and a bunch of tasks needing to be accomplished, I finally had time at about 10:30 pm to sit down and put together a massive box of computer pieces. By 2:00 am Wednesday morning, I finally had the damn thing together and running with an operating system. Ran into a couple snags, though…

  • I bought a CPU fan, thinking the CPU wouldn’t come with a fan. It did. So I have two CPU fans. Now, the extra one I bought is most certainly an upgrade, but Christ, never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine attaching such a massive and ugly piece of hardware to a CPU. It looks like my processor is being molested by a silver monster.
  • I also bought an extra tube of thermal paste. That’s only because I didn’t expect the extra fan to have some. It did. Now I’m capable of attaching a ton of processors to heatsinks and fans. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
  • I installed the mother board first, which turned out to be a mistake. You see, that crazy monster CPU fan needs to fastened to the BACK of the motherboard as well as the front. I had to take off the sucker and attach this beast of a fan before I could put the motherboard back in.
  • I was going to return the fan, once I realized what a pain in the ass it was. As I was looking up the return policy, I spilled coffee on the instructions for this fan. After a lot of swearing (sorry Kat!), I decided to keep the fan.
  • If you haven’t noticed, basically every problem I had was with this fan. But damn, does it push some heat!
  • Once everything was installed, I went to go install my operating system. Except I didn’t actually buy one. After some digging, I found my old copy of Windows 7. Brand new machine, and it’s running an operating system that’s over 7 years old. I’m off to a great start.

It might seem like two and a half hours is a long time to setup a computer, but remember, this is the first computer I’ve bought in 8 years. I was taking my sweet time, occasionally smelling the cords as I was putting it together. They had that new cord smell. Delicious.

I’ve been slowly adding software to the machine. Slowly. I’ve starting with some basics I use a bunch. Which brings me to a new problem. Because right now I’m satisfied that everything that NEEDS to be installed finally is, and I’m writing this blog at 3:00 pm on Friday. From the time of unboxing to the moment I can finally sit down and feel comfortable using my computer, it has been three days. 2 and a half hours ain’t bad, but 3 days is a goddamn long time to be waiting to use your new toy.

You see, you can’t just start mucking about on the computer the second you have it plugged in. No sir. You have to make sure everything is updated first. You have to update all the drivers for the hardware; the motherboard (you should do this first), the video card, the LAN, the audio. You have to install the latest service pack for Windows. You then have to update Windows. Now you’re going to want to install all the cool software you use on a regular basis; A good internet browser, Skype, Steam, a slew of design program I tell myself I’m going to learn but never do. Once that’s all done, once all of that was setup, I finally installed Skyrim to see how well this computer would run.

It runs at 60 FPS on the highest settings. I mean, it’s a game that’s also 8 years old, but damn, it still looks pretty good.

I’ve been going on such a downloading spree that I had to call my service provider and have them bump me up to their platinum program. If I hadn’t done that, I would still be installing Visual Studio’s 2017 (this program happens to clock in at over 50 Gbs with all the bells at whistles. No joke). I’ve only had this computer for a couple days and I’ve already downloaded well over a hundred gigs of sweet data, and from how it’s going so far, that ain’t going to stop any time soon.

TLDR; Mr. Charlton got a new computer. Mr. Charlton build his new computer. Mr. Charlton is now treating his new machine like a China vase, and refuses to even browse Facebook with it yet. You’ll know the new shiny has worn off when I start downloading crap I shouldn’t be.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I missed a post ’cause I was enthralled with my new toy. I should be working instead of playing, but I just downloaded Batman: Arkham City and SWEET PEARL it runs at 60 FPS with every damn thing turned on. An old game, but this tells me I can at least play some new games if I choose to.

 

 

Mr. Charlton Buys a Computer

Eight years. Eight years wasn’t always a long time for an appliance. Back in the day, it was common to have one phone in the house, and that was the phone you had for years. You had a washing machine until it broke down, and you’d at least try and get the thing fixed before you bought a new one. And kitchen appliances lasted forever, shucks, they still do. My stand mixer is going to be one of those things I will never get rid of. Mr. Charlton ain’t going back to making bread with his hands like some sort of pedestrian.

Computer’s though, that’s something that gets old quick. Not many people have vintage computers. Besides a couple of strange peripherals, you want the latest and greatest. Not only does the hardware get old, but the software for computers is always getting updated. A computer five years ago running Windows 7 won’t be running the same version of Windows 7  today. The software giant, Microsoft, is constantly tweaking and adding things. New features are usually great, but it bogs down the hardware. Unless you go rogue with an operating system like Linux, it’s something you’ll have to deal with.

For the non-techies reading my blog, think of it like this. If I bought a car tomorrow, stuck it in a garage for a decade, pulled it out, how would the car run? It’d run fine. You might have to lube up some bit here and there, but if the room was sealed, you wouldn’t really have any issues, except it might not have that new car smell anymore. A computer’s a little different. You buy a computer, hide it away, and pull it out ten years later? It’s going to be a pile of crap. We’ll take the car analogy again. You store the car away for a while, pull it out for a test drive after a decade, and you find out the roads are now made of steel coated with a strange lubricant. You can still drive, but you’re going to have to slow your ass down. But hey, you decide to go upgrade your car at the mechanics. Maybe they can help you out. No go. Turns out the new wheels use a way different method of attachment. Your car is no longer any good.

This isn’t a particularly great analogy. The gist is computers get old, and they need to be upgraded if you want to use the latest software. I’ve got a little laptop, an old netbook I call ‘The Pony’, and it’s fine for writing words. But it can’t even handle the internet anymore. That’s what I use the Pony for, though. When I want to write stuff down and I’d rather not be distracted.

Enter ‘The Work Horse’. This was a great machine. I mean, it had a Xeon Intel processor. A Xeon! It had 4 gigs of RAM. Big old 300 GB hard drives, and it was one of those new fangled ‘Raptor’ drives that spun at 10,000 RPMs instead of 7,200. You can’t just stick that Xeon in any old motherboard, though, that baby required the special server motherboard. That board was big, too, and it needed a special computer case that could handle the size. I wasn’t pissing around either, this was going to be a multi-media center, so I needed the separate audio card. To top it off, I had a 260x GeForce Video card. A couple of fans to her the Horse cool. It was a work of art. Eight years ago.

It’s basically being held together with duct tape at this point. I’ve done everything I could to keep her going, but it’s been a long eight years. I can’t part with the old gal, though. She ain’t as fast as she used to be, but she can still carry a load, so I’ll turn her into a little home server, add a couple of old hard drives to her and use her as a little storage unit.

I ain’t a car guy, never really saw the appeal, but I get why other people are. I look at computers the same way. My new machine should be getting here tomorrow, and I’m going to love every second assembling her, but I’ll miss things about the one I’m writing on right now. How it basically heats my little office here, or how it won’t boot up if I have a USB memory stick inserted into it.

Tomorrow, the Work Horse is going to be put to greener pastures. After eight years, it could use a bit of a break.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. After the OS, what should I install first?

p.s.s. I now feel like I used to on Christmas Eve. I might not even go to bed tonight.