Danica Patrick – The Winless Formula

Danica Patrick at the premiere of Baby Mama in...
Danica Patrick at the premiere of Baby Mama in New York City at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, Kyle Petty has been telling anyone that would listen that Danica Patrick is not a race car driver. As she is a media darling and is used by NASCAR to bring in more fans, when one does not speak the orthodoxy, one must explain themselves. Kyle has explained it several times. She can go fast, she just can’t race. Give Patrick’s middle-of-the-pack average start and finishing positions, the fast portion may be in question.

Many fans wonder from where Kyle feels he can make such statements. After all, he has no championships and nowhere near the 200 wins of his father. Many state that he road the coattails of his father Richard into NASCAR. Who is he to be so critical? Who is he to question whether Danica Patrick is a racer or not?

Win one for the “takes one to know one” point of view.

Kyle Petty is qualified to speak of Danica Patrick in such ways precisely due to his lackluster record. Sure, he may never have had the best equipment like Danica does, but that is more a lame excuse. In nearly every racing serious, drivers who do well and show promise in inferior equipment will get the attention of better teams. Kyle rarely did.

Same for Danica.

She entered the IRL in 2005 racing for Rahal Letterman Racing. While not one of the top teams, they were no slouch. The team coached her into racing with the “big boys” when  open wheel racing in America was still split due to Tony George’s ego. This left a wide talent gap in the IRL and Danica was promoted into it. During her first two seasons, she showed much promise. She lead the Indy 500. She was a buzz. This lady may finally break through the barrier that others like Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher could not. The world may finally have a good female racer in open wheel. But she never won and the questions started.

Finally, on April 30, 2008, Danica finally did it. On a rain shortened and fuel starved race, Danica passed Helio Castroneves when his car sputtered for fuel with two laps to go. She went on to win over him by nearly 6 seconds. The monkey was finally off her back.

She would never win again.

Despite being with a good team and have good equipment, Danica never again stood on the top podium. Her popularity, however, increased and eventually GoDaddy came a knocking. The media machine has been in overdrive ever since.

It cannot be overlooked though, that no matter which series. No matter IRL. No matter NASCAR Nationwide. No matter NASCAR Spring Cup. Danica Patrick has never shown the killer instinct that makes for a good race car driver. She has lots of talent, but none for getting the feel of the car. She will gripe and complain that the car is too loose or pushes too much. The team will adjust it. Then she will complain it is too slow. On the radio, she is 100% in complaint mode. She does not seem to have the desire to learn. Nor does she have the time with the commercials and personal appearances her sponsor requires.

Danica Patrick may get lucky one year and win another economy race, but in NASCAR those kind of races are extremely rare. She’s a middle-of-the-packer, just like Kyle Petty. He can speak to this, since he is one of them. He can speak about Danica not being a racer, as he is the same.


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Film, HDRI And The Crop Factor Controversy

This image shows a "Nikon Nikkor 18-70 AF...
This image shows a “Nikon Nikkor 18-70 AF-S DX / 3.5-4.5 G IF-ED” lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is time to shoot again. This time, HDRI and film are on the agenda. The sun is out today and the day lilies glow in the light. The ideas for today are to take some closeup and macro pictures of the flowers. The Pentax Spotmatic and Nikon N8008s will also be used to capture some pictures on Fujicolor 200 ASA (ISO) film. If the wind is down enough, some HDR images will also be made.

Oh wait, what controversy?

The crop factor in Nikon’s DX cameras is 1.5x. Their line of Nikkor DX lenses are made to only cover the space of the sensor. Place one of these lenses on a full-frame camera and it will not cover the whole sensor. I’ve contented that this means the measurements of the millimeter size of the DX lenses has already been adjusted to the crop factor. So, taking a 70mm full-frame lens and placing it on a full-frame body should have the same view as a 70mm DX lens placed on a DX camera. Some say this is not correct. Experiment time.

Today, this hypothesis will be put to the test by switching lenses on the Nikon D7000. Those lenses are the Nikkor AF-S 18-70mm 3.5-4.5G ED DX, Tamron AF 70-300mm 4-5.6 Tele-macro DI and the Nikkor AF 35-80mm 4-5.6D. The latter two lenses are full-frame and all three intersect at 70mm. The full-frame lenses should look zoomed a bit more on the D7000. We shall see. Watch the resulting video on Bryon Lape YouTube channel. A similar experiment was also performed on the N8008s and will be reported once the film has been processed and the results scanned. Oh, the blending of new and old technologies.

It was a good, though hot, day shooting. Video and stills taken. Yep, so HDR too. It is time to process the images and get busy posting. Ask me your questions, I’ll tell you no lies.

Happy shooting.

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Content Is King

Lifesize Religious King Statue with Spear
Lifesize Religious King Statue with Spear (Photo credit: epSos.de)

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there are two main ways to go: do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. The techniques used by either path are the same, though the professional may have access to more tools and options. Create content all over the Internet that points back to your site. Use the proper keywords the right number of times and SEO will be yours. Spam them too much and Google will ignore you.

Many people go at the keywords with reckless abandon. They use Google’s Adword Keyword tool and make list and after list of good keywords. They do all the can to work these keys words into articles to make them look like Search Engine Optimization wizards. They create content that seems odd and fantastic. They forget a key element.

Content is King.

In the early days of Internet marketing, it was easy. Find several blog sites and copy the same article to them all. Perhaps change a few words here or there, but that was about it. Post the article and let the search engines find them. Leads poured into business opportunities and people made money. People also complained and Google struck back: the infamous Google slap! Leads dried up overnight. Adword accounts were closed. The money makers had to find a new way.

The content makers realized they needed to create a few different versions of the same article. Someone figured out to use a formula to the paragraphs of the article and them made a routine to randomly swap them out. Those posted all over the Internet lead to hit rates climbing again. Come across one of the pages though and they were not humanly readable.

Google got smarter. Along came Panda.

More and more, the search engines look at context, as well as, the content. Does the content flow? Is it human readable? Is it duplicated? Is it just greeking? With each update, both Google and Bing learn the context. Along cam mobile and raised the bar again. Google search on an iPhone is not only optimized for text, it is also optimized for time and place. Google knows where you are and what the time is. In the same spot it may return different first pages depending on if it is 10am or 6pm. Your content needs to reflect such changes.

Content, after all, is King.

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Who Is Hayden Hawke?

A treant from World of Warcraft
A treant from World of Warcraft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


You see her image on nearly every site dealing with World of Warcraft. There are many videos on YouTube with her voice over. They are all to sell the same thing: Hayden Hawke’s gold guide for WOW.


Who is Hayden Hawke?


Sure, there is an image of a cute, young woman. Her blonde and silvery blue eyes. But is she a real person? After all, the name choice is interesting in that she hawks her guide. Hayden is also a name that could be either a man or a woman. Looking at slightly older images used in the adverts shows she has either bloomed well or is making some much real money with her guide she could afford an upgrade.


Is she real?


I’ve seen it speculated that she is a Photoshop creation. Her voice is someone’s girlfriend and that there real isn’t a Hayden Hawke. She has the correct amount of gamer nerd appeal, without being ridiculously hot that people ignore her. Yet, she is easy to ignore. Just like Zygor Guides, Hayden Hawke is now a synonym for site WOW spam. It’s all just noise anyway.


And what’s the secret guide have? Ways to use some addons to turn the AH into a commodities exchange. Buy low, sell high. That’s the ticket to more gold in WOW. Oh sorry, Hayden.



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SEO Expert??

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

The other day a friend of mine asked me, “If you are so good at SEO, how come when I search for Nikki Dial, I don’t find your blog? I have to put the actual title into Google before I get anything. What kind of SEO expert are you? After, you made a big deal about searching for Edwina Marquand. Hell you even made a video. What’s up?”

I had to explain a few things to him. First off, Nikki Dial is far more popular and known that my former classmate Edwina Marquand. I could probably put Nikki Dial’s name in every sentence and still not score very well for search engine optimization for Google or Bing. Not only is there a great amount of content with Nikki Dial, many of those sites have much higher traffic than I do, so they will also score higher. Not to mention, the algorithms are in constant change. Therefore, a site that scores well one day, may not the next.

He continued, “So? You say you are some sort of damned marketing genius, sell shit and stuff. And what’s with the title ‘My Date With Nikki Dial‘? You hoping she reads it and wants frak or something? Like that’s gonna happen!”

I know the likelihood of Nikki Dial, or Edwina Marquand for that matter, ever reading my blog is small. After all, there are many fan sites with images and homages to Nikki. This site is about me and what goes on in my head. Sometimes I write about Simon Sinek. Other times I may write about Seth Godin or Andrew Cass. Yes, many posts are created to bring in readers, but it is mostly about me. Lately that has meant posting about fitness, my workouts and recipes. Other times it is about beer. Hell, I’ve even posted about anal sex. Whatevers.

Sure, I would be flattered if Nikki Dial did read my blog. I’d probably faint if she sent me an e-mail. Yes, I’d like to meet her some day. After all, she is a gorgeous little thing. Yes, one might even say I am a fan. But I’m not obsessive. I will not lose sleep if Nikki never sees it. This blog is about me and what I’m doing.

“Oh,” he said. “I get it. You want to do her. And maybe this Edwina chic.”

I shook my head. He didn’t get it.

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Pressing With The Legs

Using the diagonal sled-type leg press machine.
Using the diagonal sled-type leg press machine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday morning. Time for the new leg workout. Will it be good? It is a bit more intense than the old one. Some exercises will see heavier amounts. Some exercises have been removed altogether.

Arrived at the gym a bit later than planned, but still got to it. Warm up. Stretch. Warm up some more. Time for leg extensions.

About 15 years ago, I started pre-exhausting my legs with extensions. I went nuts back then, lifting the whole rack and then some at the YMCA in Marion, Ohio. The soccer moms thought I was absolutely nuts. I’d cinch the seat belt in the Nautilus unit all the way to keep me from arching my back and cheating. Yes, it build great quads, but at the price of my knees.

Today, however, the pre-exhaust method is to use TORQ and move the weight at 3-4 seconds a rep. Coupled to that is 30 reps, so these days the weights are much smaller and less taxing on the knees. The burn is more intense too. Awesome.

Previous leg press routines at Stay Fit 24 had seen the use of the machine leg press that allows the user to push horizontally. It is time now to step back up to the Bigs with the inclined leg press. Hello old friend, it has been a long time. Three set later, it was enjoying the old feelings.

Just over half-way through this routine and I started to really keep my heart rate up. Heck the Smith Machine negatives, I kept sweating. By the end, I was out of breath and sweating. Awesome! I’ve not had this indoors in a long time.

Overall, I liked the results from my Leg workout. I spent less time at the gym, but taxed my legs more. I was able to hit just over 50% body weight on the fifth set of squats, though only hitting 4 reps out of 5. One more session should take care of that and see weights increasing. The pyraminding with the squats started with 10 pounds each side and adding 5 to each after the set. That fifth set saw 105 pounds being pushed from the floor all the way up. Being 6 feet, 5 inches, that quite a long way for a full squat. That may not seem like much, but at nearly 45 years of age, it felt like a huge accomplishment. Boom!

The next task at hand is to work on the deltoids and arms. The former will get Roger Lockridge’s “3-Week Shoulder Smash” from the June 2013 issue of Iron Man. This is a serious shoulder workout that runs for 3 cycles of 3 weeks. My shoulders are not responding as hoped, so it is time to put them on notice. Arms will probably contain the current spider curls, dumbbells and inclines. The new routine reduces the exercises for the deltoids to three, but raises the intensity several notches. Can’t wait.

Keep on lifting.

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That Pain In My Chest

English: Squat lifing
English: Squat lifing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It took two extra days to get to, but it finally happened. The new chest workout given in “Time To Move To Heavy” was finally done. It stretched my chest in new ways. It contracted with higher intensity. Some exercises resulted in same weight as before, some lower. Rest was extended a bit. Negatives were pushed.

Oh the pain in my chest when it was over. That great pain that says a muscle has been worked out, just to the limit, but not so far that it tears. That pain the means your muscles will pull in all the protein you eat afterward. That pain leads to growth afterward. That pain that tells you your body is alive. That glorious pain. Awesome sauce.

The next workout day brings an updated leg workout. So, it is time to review that one.

  • Leg extension (pre-exhaust, TORQ3×30,20,15
  • Squats  5×5 (rest to 1.5 minutes)
  • Leg Press  3×8
  • Leg Curls (TORQ3×30,20,15
  • Feet-forward Smith Machine squat (negative1×9
  • Hyperextensions  3×10
  • Dead lift (pyramid the weight3×5
  • One leg, standing calf raise  3×20
  • Free hand, two leg calf raise (speed, full stroke2×30+

There it is. The leg workout changes. On TORQ, the idea is to get full range of motion over a 4 second rep. Squats are meant to go heavier this time around, but the rep speed should still be 3 seconds. Be sure to warm up all the muscles very well and stretch. For squats only, rest at 1.5 minutes between sets, including the last. All over sets see 40 second rest between.

Feel the burn. Feel the pain. Grow.


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The Search For The Perfect Weight Gaining Smoothie

Smoothie og kaffe
Smoothie og kaffe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago while at the Kenwood Towne Centre, I was looking to get something to eat. Not sure what I wanted, I looked at Smoothie King’s offerings. After all, some smoothie places will put protein powder in their drinks. What about Smoothie King? I looked over their menu.

There it was The Activator, up to 1,100 calories with protein and other “good stuff”. Have to try that. Give me the chocolate one please. And it was good.

Once home, I went to the Smoothie King website to get more information about this smoothie and the protein powder it contains. I was quite surprised how good their protein powder is. Cannot tell if the powder is available for sale though.

But wait! I have Optimum Nutrition and Meijer brand protein powder at home. What about making one? Search the internet. Find some recipes. Time to try.

The bases for my smoothie recipe is some ice (4-5 cubes) and 2.5 cups of milk (2%). This will give some frothiness and help chilli it. Add in a scope of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey protein powder and now the protein gram count is over 40.

What next? How about some yogurt to aid digestion? Cool. Two tablespoons go in. So does a banana. Hmmm…more smoothie-ness. Some walnuts? Sure. The bitterness will help offset the sweetness. How much? A few…

Is that it? Anymore protein? Yes! Two tablespoons of peanut butter. That will be good. Mix. Blend. Pour. Drink. Oh yes.

There’s my first entry into the smoothie arena. What’s yours?

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The Best Laid Plans

Sprint006 plan
Sprint006 plan (Photo credit: J’Roo)

The plan was simple. Yesterday I updated my exercises for chest, back and abs. Want to know what it is? Sure, here’s the link. Then today, it was time to hit the gym after work and see how good this workout was. Yeah, that was the plan.

Today, reality happened. My daughter had a very emotional reaction to her summer school. I couldn’t blame her. The Northwest Passage School isn’t the nicest place and it is all computers. She had this same class on computer at regular school this year and couldn’t pay attention long enough to pass. She nearly broke down.

After talking to her and getting her to calm, she finally agreed to try it. After all, we’ve already paid and we cannot get that back. They were also having technical issues and didn’t have a computer for her for over an hour.

Ok, enough about my struggles. The results put me to work late, which put me home late, which meant no new workout time. Ugh! Time to hit the arms with dumbbells at home. Curls and extensions to failure, then some negatives. Then a call.

The call was good, but lasted longer than I planned. Nuts. Now I’m late with supper. While I have time for a smoothie? Yeah sure. Who cares about sleep for tomorrow.


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Time To Move To Heavy

101122-N-7948R-111 (Photo credit: U.S. Pacific Fleet)

The last few months have seen me using the exercises in Iron Man Magazine nearly exclusively. In particular, those found within the Training & Research Center’s articles, using the ideals of HIT and 4x. Steve Holman’s articles have lead to very good results and since the body needs to be confused from time to time, it is now that there will be some change.

For June and July, I am going to go with heavier workouts, though the reps will not be forced to drop much. Research is starting to show that decline chest exercises are more effective and stimulating the pectoral muscles. All the standing cable flyes will be replaced, as with the flat press. I’ve also knocked out some of the supersets and lowered the overall number of exercises. I want more bang for my time. The resulting chest, back and ab workout will now look like this:

  • Declined flyes   3×10
  • Declined dumbbell bench press   3×10
  • Super set:
    • Flat flyes   3×10
    • Wide-grip bench dips  3×10
  • Smith machine flat bench (negative)  1×9
  • Super set:
    • Pulldowns   3×10
    • Undergrip pulldowns   3×10
  • Upright barbell rows   3×12
  • Super set:
    • Dumbbell shrugs   3×12
    • Laterals   3×10
  • Knee Ups   4×12

The idea is to do this workout at least through June and then perhaps tweak it a bit for July. This is done once a week, usually on Monday, with a followup workout on Fridays that is more TORQ oriented. The latter workout will remain from the Iron Man articles and will be adjusted once the July issue of the magazine has arrived.

Changes for the leg work are still being finalized and will be posted as soon as they are ready.

Happy lifting.

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