On Zen and Motorcycles

Yep, it’s true. Today, instead of eating lunch (Thursdays I fast), I walked down the street to Borders.

I walked slowly and deliberately because the sun was brutal and the heat horrendous. I still had half a day to go at work and I didn’t think it would be fair to return smelling like a humid high school gym locker.

I go to Borders frequently to kill time during lunch and browse, but my past few visits I keep eying this book, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance. The book summary sounds enticing and I keep putting off purchasing it because I have a hard time convincing my miserly ass to spend more than $10 on a paperback novel from the 1970s.

Today, I finally gave in. I keep promising myself I’ll give the used book section a chance on any of the online book selling sites, but I keep putting that off too. Maybe I should really buy a book dealing with procrastination.

Anyways, I bought the cheapest version Borders had:

I have no idea what to expect or make of this or any of the chatter I’ve read about it. I’ll read and decide and maybe I’ll remark here.

If history is any indication, I’ll either love this book and go apeshit over it and you’ll be so sick of hearing about it on these pages that you’ll want to get your hands on my copy and tear it to shreds; or I’ll find myself greatly unamused and bored, never mention it again and fail to finish it. And it’ll go to the dust collection bin in my living room closet.

East L.A. Makeover: The Living Room closet, intro

The time has arrived. Stage 1 of my apartment makeover is gearing up. Here is a video intro displaying my closeted mess in all its scattered, cluttered glory!

As I make clear in the video, stage 1 should be complete in about a weekend. My game plan for this closet is simple: I need to pull all that crap out, sort through it, throw whatever I can in the garbage, organize, re-stock the closet so it actually resembles a room again.

Stage 1 is like shooting fish in a barrel; the mess is visible and obvious. There is nothing left to taste here…it’s a simple closet, I don’t foresee purchasing anything to organize it. Hangers maybe. We’ll see.

Introduction of another Moments in Time section

Man, the thought of being considered an “old-timer” drives a stake of fear through my heart. Call me anything, and I mean anything, but an old-timer.

Hey, it is what it is. I’m a “mid old timer” I guess. One thing I’ve enjoyed about old-timers since my youth is the stories. The stories and tales they can recount from days of the distant past, days when I was but a concept or a suckling little piglet. From my days of non-existence.

And now I’d like to think it’s my turn to dig up old stories from my sordid past. Stories, many of which, pop into my mind through unrelated and random moments that happen Now and trigger memories.

For instance, I was having a Facebook conversation with someone the other day and I brought up the fact that I started working at the Bank of America when I was 18….and suddenly, an old-timer moment went bing bing bing in my head.

Small, mostly inconsequential stories, really, but for whatever reason, memorable, and maybe even of some import to the younger folks. I’ve lived 44 years man…that’s worth something isn’t it? I’m putting that so-called “wisdom” to use with a new subcategory of Moments in Time…calling it Moments in Time (Then).

Popeye takes a tumble…

This is my iron.
A glimpse of my home gym.
Gyms, blah.

Crowds of less-than-serious and less-than-eager people piled into fashionable exercise attire looking to make a statement or, at the very least, to make time. Waiting in line for machines, wiping equipment down because the last person left a sweat puddle the size of Lake Huron…no thanks, I’ll stay home.

My home gym is rudimentary as you can tell from the carpet…which I protect from the iron by using old discarded car floor mats from my totaled Subaru.

I pump iron in style, man. And look at that iron.
It’s a mix and match assortment of molds from various exercise companies. You got the big 50 pounders from the king of weights himself, Weider. Continuing, I have 4 25-lb plates of the Big 5 brand and 2 more 25-lb plates I bought from some local dude who has his own shop that never seems to be really open, or closed, for that matter. And beyond that I have some 10-lb and 7.5 lb plates. When all is said and done, this conglomeration of iron adds up to 305 lbs (including the 15-lb bar and the 2.5-lb shoulders).

It ain’t pretty and neither am I. But it gets the job done.

So what is my point about this studly picture, this bristling display of iron?

Well back on July 29, a deadlift day for me, I managed 3 reps of 305 which went quite well. Not great, but…well. To watch a lifter struggle through a deadlift can fill one with a sense of odd glee. In the midst of the pull, their body will contort and twitch and spastically flail in all directions as they struggle to bring the horrendous weight to their waist. My 3 rep count of 305 was not nearly that bad, but it was close.

And then I started something new…a lifestyle experiment, which I am prone to do. I began to read about the benefits of intermittent fasting. And as usual, I dove into it full bore. I began by fasting on Tuesdays and Fridays…and by week two, I had gotten the “hang” of it if you can call going 24 hours without eating something that you get a hang of… But yeah, by week two I was over the hunger pangs and mirages of steaks that paraded by me (in reality, co-workers or pedestrians).

And most alarming…I started to lose weight. Shit! Most weight training guys do not want to lose weight. I prayed it was fat, sure, that’s what I wanted…

At this time, my 1-rep max had topped out at 335 and I was shooting for 340, shortly after I began the fasting. And it was a miserable fucking failure. This was August 12. I could only bring 340 up to my knees and I began to bend and twist like a gymnast with the stomach flu. I finally gave up, let the weight back down and walked away in resignation.

When you fail a lift, it gets you man. Gets you hard. It’s worse than a girl telling you NO after asking her to dance. Hurts, it strikes your manhood down. You tackle a weight and it doesn’t do what you want it to…ouch.

So I continued my 2-day weekly fast and my deadlift suffered, badly. My next 305, 3 rep turn comes and it’s tough. The first 2 are OK…by now I’m sapped. I take a long, long break and do the 3rd rep, but the time spent recouping is laughable and I barely can face the weightlifting Gods in the face after that disgraceful performance. And today, September 23, was the next turn for 305×3 (as I would shorthand it in my log). And once again, the same miserable performance!

Well, 2 weeks ago I decided to reduce my fasts from 2 days to 1 per week. That simple tweak has seen me almost return to my pre-fast weight of 145.
Yep, 145. I had fallen to 140 at the height of my fasts, so in essence I guess it makes my deadlift numbers more admirable considering my feathery body weight. For a 145 pounder to deadlift 335 is pretty good…I like to think. And I’m not in this iron game to look like Popeye; I’m a strength trainer, not a body builder. I can live with being light so long as my strength sees consistent gains…which it hasn’t.

My weekly fasts now take place on Thursdays (Wednesday dinner thru Thursday dinner). So as I write this, I’m technically fasting even though I ate dinner just an hour and a half ago. Twenty-two more hours to go. It’s honestly not that bad and I’ll discuss fasting more at another time.

Anyone got a can of spinach?

Non-Judge-Mentality the 2nd

The willingness, the need, the urge, the instinct, to judge.
To ridicule.
To scorn.
To dehumanize.
To trivialize.
Born solely of fear and hate and the state of unsure-ness.
But, most striking, in the willingness with which one is able to cast a narrow-minded stone at another, is the inverse inability to gather one’s own strength and sense of power.
For it’s only from the position of helpless impotence that we seek the means to right ourselves and claim our own righteous equilibrium here in the cruel and harsh world which works its hardest to capsize our ship with all the impersonal ferocity it can muster.
Sadly, for many, to judge…is to stay afloat.