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February 26, 2004

Who IS that guy?

What I do for a living:

Short answer:

I'm a software engineer and application architect . When it comes to platforms and languages, I'm an agnostic, really. I've been developing in .NET (C#, specifically) since convincing my previous employer to go in that direction, though I also use Perl (aka cacharbe on perl monks ) and C++ in the majority, and can use Java, VB (pre .NET), php, etc (give me a book and a goal, and it's all about Syntax).

I was hired at the beginning of April 2005 to work for Avanade as a solutions developer in their .NET practice. I'm based out of their central region (officed in Chicago) but still work from home.

Long Answer:

My specialty is developing end-to-end systems that deal with b2e integration, knowledge management and enterprise business practice retooling. I've helped a brewer rethink it's marketing and sales strategies management, a bank redesign it's lending applications and a major retail chain consolidate how they deliver and service their products to the customer.

I'm a problem solver. My job is to identify business hurdles and their root causes, then to architect solutions that solve them and integrate a user base and content into an organization using architected code, off-the shelf solutions or (usually) a combination of both.

The hardest part of my job is usually the change management that goes along with changing a long standing business practice. There is a HUGE pride of ownership when it comes to these practices, even if the practice is OBVIOUSLY detrimental to a group or business. My training in improvisation has helped me considerably when it comes to identifying patterns, their problems and strengths, and communicating those patterns as well as possible solutions and integration points to the customer and the rest of my engineering team.

What I do for fun:

Improvisational Theatre. I've trained all over, including Chicago at the Improv Olympic, and I've performed internationally, including the US, Canada and Japan.

Who I do it With:

My wife and partner, Sara. She is my rock, my foil, my giggles, my laughter, my joy and my heart. And my daughter, Rachel, who is growing more beautiful with each passing minute, and already has her daddy wrapped tightly around her beautifully long fingers. They truly are the only people I need, and I miss them every day that I am not at home, playing on the floor.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 10:23 AM | Comments (3)

September 29, 2010

Gearing up for the Whole9 Thirty Day Challenge - The Web

Starting Monday, I'm embarking on the Whole9, Whole30 Thirty Day Challenge with many of the others at the gym where I train.  In preparation, I thought I would put together in one place a bunch of the resources that I use to share with the other folks.

I've been living part Paleo, part Neo for the last year or so, and I'm feeling like it's time to give up the grain for good and truly practice what I preach.  So here's to it:

Paleo specific sites I read:

Krist Amory (of Feasting on Fitness) also has a Resources link that is useful

I'm a fan of The Food Renegade, (which, while not 'Paleo' per se, has a load of useful links and recipes that qualify as Paleo) and Mark's Daily Apple, also not precisely Paleo, but has a LARGE number of recipes that, if not Paleo, can be easily modified.

I'm also looking at flexing my Amazon Prime muscle a bit and getting some shipments of coconut products (milk and shredded) if I can find the appropriate quality, otherwise, it will be down to the co-op with me.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 9:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2010

This week in Health News - How are our Kids?

Over the last week, a few articles have hit the news wires that have left me in a seething, ranting fit, culminating today in a discussion sparked by an "article" on FoxNews (of course).

A Weighty Issue: Mass. Schools' 'Fat' Report Cards Crossing the Line?

So, first of all, the school district shouldn't be allowed to classify a child as obese until they can prove that it's not their deadly food and lack of physical education that are the main contributors.

In it's current accept usage,  BMI is improperly referenced as a measure of obesity rather than an observational starting point for individual data collection and analysis. To suggest that BMI is the MEASURE by which a child is called "fat" is scientifically improper as it describes a scale along a statistical norm and NOT the basis of individual measure. The only way I would accept BMI as a data point is if it was corroborated with correlating individual data, eg. Body Fat % and Lean Body Mass. "Because Shelby's BMI was observed to be on the high side of normal for her age group, we tested her body composition (caliper method) and determined that she was 23% body fat, which is high for a child her age[...]" 

Personally, I would argue to tell the school nurse (who should know this already) that BMI is irrelevant and useless without corroborating, individually unique data. The only body composition numbers that are important for measuring health and fitness for an INDIVIDUAL are Body Fat Percentage and Lean Muscle Mass.

While everyone SHOULD be upset with this gross misconduct, the story is pomp and bluster, and I believe that they are 'angry' for the wrong reasons. While the patterns for healthy eating habits and fitness start at home, our children spend 80% of their time at school, and the environment is toxic and sedentary. IF FoxNews and the parents were REALLY upset there would be a LARGE outcry against the irrelevance of the measurement and the environment that put them all in this situation, instead of politically charged BS about 'who's invading/violating whose rights.'

I would say that a healthy country (in just about any sense of the word) starts with a healthy family. Our schools should not be the enforcers regarding our kids health, but they should definitely be the primary benefactor. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%. [1]

What's the financial impact on our Health Care Industry when there is a pediatric load on the system with adult issues (High blood sugar, type II diabetes, high cholesterol, and all the other hyperinsulinemia induced diseases)? When the cost of a patient over a lifetime can almost TRIPLE because of the childhood onset of obesity related diseases (which doesn't even CONSIDER the rise of 'elective' treatments related to obesity on the rise with teens) , I think this is actually one of the easiest to solve issues taxing the entire system, and America is to much a coward to fix it.

Americans dig their own graves with their teeth.

Consider it's national security impact.  ABC news carried a story about an opinion from Mission: Readiness (a think tank of retired military officers)called “Too Fat To Fight” (check out the Counter Think Comic) detailing a new report that says that more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military. Now, the officers are advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation's school lunches healthier.

All this to say that while I don't think a school should be testing kids for obesity without being a MAJOR contributor to the solution, I also think we all need to take responsibility for the health and wellness of our children, lead by example and stop killing our kids with bad information, poisonous food and no motivation.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2010

My daughter

She is a blazing ball of energy, constantly in motion and at odds.  She is the pool, the swing set, the slide, the way-way far down park.

She needs a hug, needs a favor, needs to go to the bathroom, absolutely needs to go nudie-feet.  She's finicky, strong willed, strong tempered and strong headed, and when she falls, she's “all right!”

She loves her bobby (her silky blanket), her buddy (her eeyore doll), her sister, her momma, her daddy, and the neighbor, Tyler, who just moved in. She puts EVERYTHING in her mouth, but won't eat her lunch, she'll run to her bedroom because she needs to go pee and will pop into a headstand on a whim. She's all butter fly wings and lightning bolts

She call's the song “She was the prize” “Daddy's Girl” because I changed the words to describe her. She's pink, powerful, blue eyed, brown haired and mine.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 4:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sara

Hey ThereIt's Sara's birthday, and boy does she deserve a party. I love that she works as hard as she does, every day, to be a better parent to our beautiful daughters.  I love that she continues to support me and my goals.  I love her playfulness, her smile, her honesty and her love for her family.  I love her wisdom, her knowledge and her utter inability to let me get away with any bullshit.

You've made it through another year successfully, Sara.  I love you, I miss you more every day, and I'm honored that you choose to spend your years with me.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 9:34 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2010

Oly Cert - A retrospective

This was a dense weekend to put it mildly. My body was sore by Saturday night and my brain reached the full tipping point by 11:00 am Sunday morning. I could try and recap everything we did; the Burgener warm-up, both lifts, all of the skill transfer exercises for each and the plentitude of coaching cues…but I won't.  There's a cert for that, and if you want to really understand the snatch and the clean/jerk, the only way to do it is to learn it as if you had to teach it.

What I will do is thank everyone appropriately.  First, a huge thank you to Kate (and Paul) and The Athlete Lab for being such fine hosts.  The little things were all taken care of, which helped to make the big things go smoothly. I felt welcome and included, and their passion for CrossFit was evident in the beauty of their space and their attention to detail.  They even provided a great list of places to find food in the area for those of us from out of town.

Next, thanks to all the attendees.  The cert wouldn't have been a CrossFit cert without the great people from our region, with athletes and trainers from as far away as Sioux Falls, SD making the trip to learn from the best.  Everyone that I had a chance to talk to and train with was helpful and a testament to pursuing virtuosity. It was also great to meet more CrossFit athletes from closer to home, and I hope to spend a little more time with them in the future.  My CrossFit home will always be CrossFitMN, but one thing that I have learned from trying to train Aikido, Jodo and CrossFit on the road (both while in Japan and back here in the states as a consultant) is that visiting other schools expands your horizons, offers new challenges and allows you to meet some of the best people in the world; and who wouldn't want to do that?

Next up, the coaches.  A huge “Thank You” to all of them.  They were all top notch, and their passion was evident from the moment we started with the introductions.

Amie TaylorAmie Taylor isn't just a CrossFitter and Oly Cert wise-woman, she's also a 9th  grade algebra teacher, and her passion for CrossFit and education collided with the creation of CrossFit Algebra.  Truly inspiring, and something that any educator should read.

Debbie HudsonDebbie Hudson is a competitive Olympic Lifter from Oakland County, MI (my home town) and is opening a CrossFit affiliate in the YMCA near Oakland University (where I will now need to visit while I'm home to get a tune up for my clean). She was always right there with succinct advice and positive feedback; and Lord knows, I needed some of both this weekend. If you are interested in seeing what this CrossFit thing is all about and you are in the Oakland County area, I highly suggest you look her up.

 

cody burgenerCody Burgener, CrossFit Sioux Falls coach and son of the coach, Mike Burgener, was an interesting reflection of his father.  He has as critical an eye as does Coach, but a completely different coaching style.  Though different, he was as direct and specific and each one of his cues moved me closer to success.  He also hit a 315# PR Clean and Jerk over lunch on Sunday while wearing street shoes, which is nothing to be scoffed at.

Erin Okonek Karshner Erin was a phenomenal coach and offered me several words of wisdom that I will keep with me as I start to coach others in these lifts. My favorite moment of hers for the weekend, though, was actually at dinner on Saturday night. Someone mentioned that the plate of Cody's Chili cheese fries she was amount to NOM from might not be Paleo, and she responded "Do I look like a person that eats Paleo?" I looked at her and and said "Um, yes, Erin, you do." She actually looked down at herself briefly and said, "Yeah, I guess I do...", and proceeded to help herself.

I should also mention that she and Amie did "Bear" for a workout on Sunday, and she maxed at 145#, which is staggering.

coach mike burgener Of course, the cert wouldn't be complete without Coach B from Mike's Gym. Coach was everything I expected and more.  He was direct, stated his expectations clearly and concisely and there was never any doubt that he was going to push us toward not just lifting with excellence, but with teaching it as well.  From the intro to the wrap up, everything was organized, well thought out, excellently presented and worth every minute of agony.  As my good friend Kevin Oie put it, “Best. Weekend. Ever.” And I wholeheartedly agree. Coach cares about Olympic Lifting.  It's his passion, and that passion bleeds through with every contagious word.

Before the start of the weekend, I knew that I loved CrossFit and thought that I wanted to be good at the lifts because I didn't see MetCon excellence in my immediate future, but now, I  know it. I practiced skill transfers with a broom today while sweeping and stole ten minutes to head out to the garage to go through the warm up.  After the kids are in bed tonight, I have a Clean workout and a Kettlebell, pull up sit up cookie to attend to.

Thank you, Coach, for your time, your passion, your knowledge, the burpees and the Jodi.  What a package deal. Please come back to Minnesota soon… and next time, bring the Harley.  When there aren't tornadoes, it's quite the rider's paradise.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 2:29 PM | Comments (0)