Thursday, December 17, 2015

Getting started

Where to begin?

A regular enough question.  One that is asked regularly.  I always feel a little weird when asked. Because , honestly, I'm not in the greatest shape. I know guys, and girls, that are killling it on a way higher level than I am. So I sometimes feel a little awkward in these moments.

Just to be clear, if you have asked me, and I seemed standoffish it's because I'm uncertain I am the right person to be asking. But I do feel humbled that you asked.

Now then, to the question at hand: where to start?

Go for a walk.

That's all. Doesn't have to be complex. Through on the shoes and venture out.  You don't have to have some grand design, or meticulously crafted calorie intake to outtake formula.

Just go for a walk.

If you are not a regularly active person, this is the best way to go out and move.  Going for a walk is easy. There is no fancy equipment you need. No complex plan. And.... It's totally free. Ah yissss.... Free... Mmmm free.

A walk does a few things for you. First off it gives you a chance to have a moment of quiet, rare enough these days. Second it feels good. Third it is the easiest way to let you body know that things are changing.

Weight lifting is wonderful, but it puts a ton of stress , good stress, on you nervous system. But, if you not already acctive, it could be too much. Also, going from 0 to 60 without letting the engine warm up is a recipe for disaster.  Going for a walk let's you just move with out strain.

I found that getting started, most of my hiccups stemmed directly from the fact that I tried to much too early.  So I would get frustrated, and down on myself because I wasn't "sticking to the plan". So I would miss a work out here and one there.... Sometimes a whole week would burn up in my ennui.

A plan is good, but getting fit has to become a habit, and anyone who has had to change a habit knows that it's all about baby steps. Getting in shape is a habit of being active, just as much as being unfit is a result of the the habit of sitting on one's duff.

So, you have to take the time to make that new activity a habit.  A month... It is generally accepted that it takes a month to break or create a habit. So pick a time each day and just go for a walk. You'll be surprised how easy it is. After a month... Add something. But for that first month, just do twenty minutes,  ten out, ten back. Get to a point that you can carry a conversation, but feel a good rate moving.

It's really that easy getting started, just go for a walk.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fuel

So last time we talked it was about the basics of "you can do it"

Let's go ahead and keep on that path and start looking at the how.

First thing is first. I talked about how the change in eating was , and still is, the trickiest part of the process.  Always will be.

You can run millions of miles, hoist ton after ton of weights, but with a bad intake of food, you'll get absolutely nowhere. Bad diet means bad shape. That's the long and short of the matter. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect about it. No one is. I love donuts, milkshakes and chocolate. Oh, and French fires... mmmm french fries.

To be honest, on a whole most of us eat like junk. We know how to eat right but we generally don't.  And why? I hear you ask , because eating right is hard, as well as boring.

But, as AA has taught so many, admitting your problem is the first step to overcoming it.  I love junk food. Of all the food types it is my favorite. Of course, my love of junk food will also lead to an early grave by way of my heart trying to explode outta my chest.

The trick is, how do we mix our love of fries against our, understandable, love of life.  In all things moderation is key. 

We've all had the day after way too many buffalo wings, beer, and the like. We all know exactly how we felt. Junky.

Then again we've all had the day that we did it all right and go to bed easily.  I know which one I prefer.

There are a lot , A LOT , of snake oil diets out there but none of them really stand the test of time.  All proteins, no carbs, half gallon of celery juice.... You name it and some shiester has tied to peddle it.  Nothing in my life has done me better than, eat smart.  If you have to pour a whole meal out of a box and let it simmer until it congeals, it's most likely not a sound choice.

I try to stick to the "outside wall" theory when at the store. Stay out of the aisles as much as possible. For there is not but salt and preservatives in those lands. 

The grocery, meat.. dairy. These are the path to good eating. And you'll find that you actually get more food there for your buck than not. Seriously.

My wife is able to feed all four of us , heartily, for a little over a hundred bucks a week. Think about that. A week's worth of food for four people, the baby doesn't count , for 25$ a head. Because she stays outta the aisles. As a result we are all doing very good and I have few concerns about the nutrition we get.

So... Eat smart. Eat cheap. And from time to time... Get some fries.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

You can do it

Okay, bit of a divergence from the normal here but I feel the need to address a serious issue that is outside of the main realm that I normally rant about.

There is a terrible social stigma going around... fat shaming...

Don't do this.. Doing this makes you a dick...and not the good kind that the ladies like to swap stories about over mimosas.  The bad kind... that girls like to snicker about over mimosas...

There's a significant difference.

On that note, being obese is bad.  Not only for yourself but for those that you love.  Trust me, they do love you.  I know that there are a mass of reasons that people over eat, don't exercise, and generally don't take better care of the bodies that they are gifted with.  If you are suffering from some sort of depression or mental wall that makes it harder for you to get fit, that's okay, I get it.  I will never say boo on the matter.  Being mentally or emotionally damaged is a shitty place to be in.  I love you.

Now then, if you are just plain out lazy and find the idea of working out too insurmountable, or are just plain out lazy... please please please, pay heed.

Five years ago I found myself in a pitiable state.  I was walking through my bedroom and passed by the massive mirror that we have.  I had my robe on and saw that my gut actually was sticking out past the robe... like, by a lot!  I rushed to the living room looked at my wife and said "When did this happen?"

She looked sheepishly down at the knitting in her hands and said "I noticed a few weeks ago, I didn't want to say anything".  For the record, if you are a spouse, you are obliged to tell you other when they are letting themselves go.  You are the only person that gets to and not come across as a jerk.

So... I go back to the mirror, take my shirt off,  and stare at the mass that I had become.  I wouldn't say I was disgusted, but I certainly was not okay with what was staring back at me. I had developed man boobs... there was a little "v" shaped fold where my arms met my chest and the slope of my shoulder was, shall we say... smooth.  In short, I had let myself go.   I was not sad, I was angry.  There I am, 30 years old and I have completely let my body go to waste.  How could I let myself get there?  It was easy, I didn't do anything.  I was eating what I wanted when I wanted, which normally boiled down to something fried and yummy.  Or sweet... I like sweets.  I sat around all day at the office, then I would drive home and sit around all evening watching a movie or painting a miniature, sometime both at the same time, because multi-tasking is keen.

I decide then and there... time to get rid of this.

The next morning, I'm up early.  A run... I'll go for a run.  Strap on the shoes, step out the front door,   and off I go to the glorious world of physical fitness.  At the end of the block I want to die.  Standing under street light I am gasping for air like there is not enough in the world.  My legs feel like they are on fire.  For a moment, I got the sweaty teeth. Mind you I wasn't sprinting or anything like that I knew better than that,  but the simple fact that a slight jog down the street at a medium pace had left me in a state of "about to yak last night’s dinner"  Deciding that that was enough, I stroll back to the house. I'd caught my wind back, barely, by the time that I had gotten back inside.

I felt like hell, but I had done it!  I was super proud, but then I realized that I had to do it again the next day.  I believe my exact words were "Fuck that".  The next day, I was up early again.  I shrewdly decided that today was not a "running" day.  I had no interest in seeing that street corner again in less than 24 hours.  Out in the living room I looked at the clock, silently cursed 530am and got down to do some pushups.  Because fit people do pushups...

Guess what?  I was able to get through a massive, earth shattering, world record setting.. 7 pushups.. On my knees... I needed a water break. 

Slowly, I began to not come to the edge of my mortality, so I decided to go ahead and try my hand at the gym, just to see if I could.  The first time I went I felt so out of place.  I was staring at all of the machines... those looked easy, there was no way that I was going to try the big barbells, I knew for a fact that I couldn't do that.  After about 45 minutes of "working out" I felt like I had achieved something great.  Sure I hadn't done an Arnold caliber work out, but I did it.

I kept going.  Eventually my wife started tagging along. We had a daily meet after work at the gym then would go home for dinner.

Food was the hardest issue.  Because eating healthy is no fun, at first.  You start to get to like it after a while though.  Of course there were days that I decided "Screw it, I want a freaking burger" but those were getting fewer and farther apart. 

I kept at it, there have been ups and downs but in the end I know that I am in far better shape than I was that night I stood in front of that mirror.  I have kids now so finding the time for working out is more difficult, but I want it.  I don't want to be the dad that gets winded chasing his kids around.  I want my sons and daughter to look at me and think, "My dad is the strongest dad in the world".  I want them to see that working out is good, fun and simple.

I say simple, it is not easy but it is simple.  If you want to make a better you then you have to decide that you want it more than you want anything else.  You have to want it more than that movie, more than sleeping in,  and more than the large fries and strawberry milkshake.  You have to want it more than you want to breathe.  Because if you want it any less you won't do it. 

It's hard getting up at 4am to make it to the gym.  It's hard to not have sugar in your coffee. It's hard to not go out one night because you know that you are going to be up early and you have deadlifts on the schedule.  It is worth it though.  Every time that you do something that you didn't think you could.  Every time you wrap your hands around a barbell, knowing that you've never lifted something that heavy, pull with all of your might, and find out that you can lift that much weight.

One of my favorite things to in the world is toss my children in the air.  They love it too. I would not be able to do this without the dedication that it takes to make it so I can. 

I am I there yet?  No, not by a long shot. I still look at myself and think "I can do better" I'm stronger now than I have ever been in my life, but I want to be stronger.  I want to be slimmer.  I want to look like my heroes from the comics and movies.

I want to look like I can wash shirts on my stomach.

These are my goals though.  You will set your own. But set them you must.  We need you in the world.  You're important.  You count.  And you owe it to yourself to be the best you that you can possibly be.

But at the end, know that if I can get my ass outta bed to get it done, you can do it.

If you need help or advice, or just a talk about life and how to make it better, hit me up. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The peaceful majority is irrelevant

In light of the Paris attcks again both sides have drawn up lines and are dead set on defending their world view premises.

On one side you have the hard "anti-Islam" crowd That are ready to go to war over the attacks that tell you that Islam is the greatest threat to mankind and needs to be eradicated.  I'll admit, in the hours after the attacks I was wooed by the same thoughts.  I'm not ashamed to admit it. 

On the other side you have the "not all Muslims" team,  that demand that there be more understanding and we as a liberal society should recognize that this is a patently required view.  Also, I am more than able to see this point of view and the validity of the thinking.

Obviously, not all Muslims are violent extremists.  Anymore so than all Christians hate all gays and are pro-life bombers.  Without a doubt both views are ridiculous. 

The most important thing to realize is that in the end,  the peaceful majority is irrelevant.

The argument that I hear regularly in regard to the Muslims is that there are 1.5 billion (with a "b") Muslims on the planet.  and the vast majority of them are not violent Jihadis. Fair and absolutely true.  But, and there is always a but, even if just a small amount.. say 1-5% are in support or are actively participating in Jihad, that gives us anywhere between 15 million to 75 million.  in comparison, there are around 1.4 million people wearing US military uniforms, across all branches.  with may another million in reserve.

So, if we even go with the 1% number... there are ten times as many Jihadist Muslims as there are uniformed United States Military personnel.  That is a terrifying statistic.

The fact that the other 99% are not, doesn't matter.

It took 19 people 2 hours to bring America to a grinding halt.  19 of them.

10 violent ISIS fighters have pushed France to close their borders and institute a city wide curfew across Paris.  These are things that have not been done since the end of WW2.

So , what do we do with this? Most certainly something must be done.  Those that do espouse a violent, anti west, version of Islam are without a doubt the minority. But when the vast majority of modern or even moderate Muslims do nothing to stem this, what is the west to do.

The form of theocratic Islam that is put forward by those like ISIS is barbaric, and rightfully should be denounced. But denunciation only goes so far. There is only so much that talking can achieve.

There are those of course that will liken the Christian crusades as a point of hypocrisy on the part of modern Christians. Though those same people ignore the fact that Christianity had a reformation that began to chip away at the political power of the church. This reformation broke the power of Rome and allowed for the thinkers of the early enlightenment to consider the larger questions of life that the church would not allow.

In the modern age, the Muslim world needs their own Martin Luther. Sadly, there are still enough imams that are willing to declare any that may raise their head are apostates, and in a world view of those violent minority, are loud and strong enough to ensure that capital consequences are meted out.

So, when it comes time to talk with your contemporaries, remember, not all Muslims are violent jihadists, but with such a large world wide population, a full seventh, even one percent being active jihadists is a terrifyingly large number of people. People that truly believe that violence will garner them paradise, truly render the peaceful majority irrelevant.

Men from boys

Okay, time for a little "up by the boot straps"

I have noticed and increasing amount of "motivational posts" in social media of late.  Quaint though thy are, I am generally very underwhelmed by them. Why? I hear you ask... I'll tell you why... because... this would be a very short post if I didn't...

Digressed, sorry.

Along side these remarkably surface level wallpaper worthy pieces of claptrap, I notice there is a worrying uptick in the amount of "can't adult" memes as well.  That worries me... can't adult?  Who can't adult? Why can't you adult? What does it mean to adult?  Are TRIX really for kids?

*forcefully pulls brain back on topic*

There is a pervasive thought process that says that we are all supposed to be "not good" at being an adult. I have no idea where this came form.  When I was young, my greatest hope was to become a

stable, productive,  and competent adult.  To that end I focused hard on what it was to be a man.  How did men think?  How did they act?  What would I have to do to be considered a man?

Though my musings I came to the realization that being a man was a state of mind, not a state of acting.  Or, as it would seem, acting like a man would lead me to being a man.

Lose you yet?  I hope not, we're just getting started.

So, the idea of "how does a man act", settled heavy on my pubescent mind.  I realized that I had to pick a way that I wanted to be a man.  I wanted to be powerful, yet gentle.  Loving, yet stoic.  Aggressive, yet gentle.  I thought long and hard about these points.  Certainly there had been generations of men that had done this, surely I could figure out how to do it.  So I looked into those men that I thought fulfilled my idea of what manliness was.

Of course through the history of all of mankind there were a great many examples that I could take my cues from.  Modern examples shewed me towards John Wayne,  MLK, Churchill.  All of them wonderful examples of how men should be.   Reaching farther back into time I found Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington,  and Adams.  Again, fantastic examples.

All of these men shared a common theme of their histories.  They were all men that made themselves.  Yes, many of them came from privileged classes that allowed them the ability to be movers and shakers in the world. But quite a few of them cam from obscurity,  and yet will be names that are on the lips of people for at least another hundred years.  So it wasn't their beginnings that made them the men that they were it was their innate ability to keep going.  Never quit.  No matter what they ran into they reached deep down into who they were and pulled themselves, kicking and screaming, to be the men that they knew they had to be.  If not for themselves then for those around them.

They knew innately that they had to be more.

To that end they cultivated the mind. Engaged their hearts. They challenged the prevailing cultural mindset of how men should be. They studied the classics, read the thinking of men long dead, both for what they did right and where's they missed the mark. The meditations of stoically men, like Aurelius. The pragmatism of Aristotle. Morality from Aquinas. Nothing was taboo to these men in their pursuit.

Fast forward to modern times. Young men are discouraged from reading those very same words. They are mocked for being activity concerned with improving their minds, in exchange for improving their emotions. They are taught to feel through a situation, as opposed to think through it. This is deplorable. They are taught to ignore what it is that makes them men, and inhabit a place that discards those base traits in their core. 

It's little wonder that so many men suffer from depression and ennui in such tragic levels. They are told to be better, then are abused for trying to be so. Not for being better off course, but for being the wrong kind of better. 

I have two sons. Sons that I desperately wish to watch grow into impressive men. I worry though, that they are coming up in a world that hats the impressive and celebrates the mediocre. The only way I know to push back is to make myself impressive and unabashedly so. In hopes that they will follow.

If you have sons, out are in position to influence young boys, don't abuse them. Let them know that it is okay to be boys. Instill in then the heart they will need, the courage, and the intellect that has been the calling card of the greatest men.

Don't treat them like young girls. They will resent it, not understand why, and eventually despise you for it.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

being a dad

This is hands down the most awkward thing to have to talk about. I'm four years into this trial and feel like I am getting a little better at it as the days go on but there is so much that I have to worry and think about that I always feel like I'm going to miss something that is ultimately important to the process and truly screw these kids up.

I have a daughter and two sons, 4, 2, and six month respectively.  the youngest I have no worries about right now, because to him, I'm merely a go between on the time that he is a asleep  or fussy or gassy to when he gets a breast put in his face... he's easy. my older boy he is a cause for me to worry because I am stuck in a wonderfully awkward position of having to be fatherly and raise him to be a boy that will become a man... and I hardly feel qualified for the job. And the girl... oh man... what the hell am I to do there... she is the complete opposite of me... I understand noting of how her little brain works, and yet, I sure as shit have to teach her too... but what?

for the boys that's easy, I need to teach them to be the right kind of man. One that stands up when he must and knows the right time to step back and let life play its course. I have to teach them all the manly things. All the things that I know how to do, as a male, in the male way.  There is a lot of talk about letting, or pushing, boys to act in ways that make them easier to deal with, making them more docile and easy to control or at very least easier to get into thinking the "right" way. But I'm not one of the "right" way of thinking kind of guys myself. I'm a firm believer in the core of being male, being masculine. Not macho, but someone that believes that there is a way that men are supposed to act and that I expect myself to act that way.  the boys need to learn how to be men.

The first thing that  think that they need to know is to be themselves. and not in the stupid "be yourself the way everyone says is the okay way to be yourself" kinda way.  That's a path that causes naught but confusion and frustration. You know what I'm talking about. Be the kind, gentle , and passive fellow. Just to the point that you don't actually rock the boat so everyone knows you are stable and consistent. But not too stable... then you're a weirdo that doesn't think for himself... can't have that... but only think for yourself when it's okay to do it and won't upset those around you....

It's hardly surprising there is a mess of young men now days that are truly stunted mentally.

I need to teach them to be lovers of what it is to boys. They should love to get dirty, which should be hard since dirt seems to glue itself to my older boy when he is sitting still. They need to learn to be physical. They need to learn that they are creatures of action by their very nature. They need to do things they need to be active. Being quiet and thoughtful is a trait that develops, but for some reason people think it is a trait that boys need to learn early.  Or worse are deficient for not having it in them right away.

My daughter has this trait. She can sit, for a while, and be content observing. Of course, she being four, means that the amount of time is very short, but is getting longer week by week.

In my musings I came to the realization that there are three patently male activities that are at my core.

Protect, provide, and procreate.

Now, I'm a firm believer that these are my absolute basic drives. I have to protect what's mine, be it family, friends,  or property. Without doing this I cannot, in my view call myself a man. Any man that let's this principle attribute be delegated is fooling himself of being a man.  This also means that as a man I am, by nature, going to be more readily inclined to aggression and stubbornness. These are to personality traits that have been deemed as silly and they point to the fact that men never really outgrow their boyish tendencies.  But these are also traits that I think my boys should have, and are traits that I will, joyously, nurture in them.  For certain, their mother does not have the same mental architecture to do so.

The next in that line is provision.  I learned as a very young boy what want felt like.  I knew the pangs of hunger too well.  The worry of where I was going to be laying my head, while a far outside thought, was there, because there was no stable man in my life.

Now, full props to my mother, she raised my sister and I well enough.  But the leanness of my upbringing has left an indelible mark on my thinking.  I am shrewd and careful with food, very cautious with what I have so as not to replace it before required,  and incredibly miserly. Though I cannot ever get over the thought that had we had a stable present man in our lives that was dedicated to providing, life would have been easier.  I would not have had to learn life lessons the hard way.  I certainly would more likely than not, have worried about eating something that I was not supposed to eat.  So now, as a father, I am always thinking of how I am going to bring in more money in order for us to have the basics in abundance.  It's little things too, like making sure that there is always one extra gallon of milk in the fridge, because my two year old drinks it like water;  or that we always have a little more than enough of everything.  I am by no means of great financial standing, I do not make near as much as I want to be making at this point, but the simple fact that I worry about how much my kids have eaten as opposed to whether or not that they have eaten fills me with pride.

Now then... Procreation. Obviously I am not going to start walking the boys down that path for a loooong time, but it is a path I need to walk with them.  I don't think that anyone can argue that in the last twenty to thirty years there has been an overwhelming trend of opening up women's sexuality while at the very same time demonizing that of men.  Which is a real shame that something that is supposed to be so much fun has become so villainous and derided.  From the simple fact that as men, and by extension boys, have to worry at all times whether or not they are being "sexual predators".  Somehow I need to teach my boys, and my daughter (I'll leave the lion's share of that talk to the wife though) that sex is not a bad thing.  It is a good thing, hell a great thing.  They need to see that the end result of the act itself is all guided toward the idea of making a new person, and if they think that they are old enough or ready to lay the role of "mom" or "dad" then... well that's where it's gonna go.

But... and this is a huge BUT.  I refuse to let them see it as a weapon that can be wielded against the other sex. 

These are basic thoughts... the core principles that drive me as a man... as a father.


Being a father is hard.  It is terrifying.  It is one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had.





Tuesday, October 27, 2015

FUCK UPS

These happen. You don't do it on purpose but the at the end of the day; You Fucked It Up.

Screwed the pooch, took a walk down the peer and didn't turn around, completely blew it.

You know you have done it, we all have. The trick is, what did you do when it came out?  some of us try to cover it up, try to buy time. This is the absolute worst thing you can do. Sometimes you have to just man up and tell the truth that you totally got it wrong.

This happened to me recently. At work no less. Terrible moment.  I knew I was living on borrowed time and I got called on it what hard. Like... I should not have a job, but for the grace of the situation I still do.

I don't know how I got into the situation... no that's not true I know exactly how I got there... I procrastinated. And I really hurt my personal capital in the process. My reputation has been hurt by no other reason than I didn't handle what needed handling when it needed handling.

Sometimes this happens and you get pushed straight back against the wall and don't know what to do from there. Some people crumple and fall down begging not to get hit anymore. Hoping on the mercy of the situation not to keep hitting them.  Then some people get their backs against the wall and decidee they have had enough of it and come out swinging like a madman. I'd like to think I'm that madman, and the person that is kicking the crap outta me is myself.

 It's my failings that are causing this hurt to me. Not the actions of other people. My lesser nature has got me against the wall and now I need to come out and fight back against it the best I know how. Methodically and with a mean purpose.  I need to look that part of me square n the eye and fight it off like it needs to die. Because I cannot get by with it's existence anymore. It;s going to cause me more hurt over and over and over again.

So how do you do it. First; identify the problem. Honestly. See it for what it is. doesn't matter if it's something that you are ashamed to admit to, you have to do this. Put it right out there and say "This is the reason"

It may hurt, you may not like doing it, you may feel very very uncomfortable doing this; because really who like looking in the mirror knowing what is going to be staring back.




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Gunslinger

Jon dropped to the ground as energy blasts tore apart the ruined auto he was taking cover behind. The sound of the impacts sang in his ears like a legion of bells as he hastily slid another charge core into both his pistols. “Damn” he thought to himself, “these guys are not gonna let up ‘til I’m dead.” Then there was silence, the shooters were reloading their plasma cores, he had time to take a shot. He came up fast spinning on the balls of his feet and scanned the ruined mall with a practiced eye. Jon spotted two of the shooters, tall and lithe in their matte black power suits, Jackals. The Jackal to his left saw him come up first and threw its plasma gun while drawing its own pistol. “Too slow” he whispered as his left hand jerked with the recoil of his pistol. A deafening roar thundered through the ruins as a charge bolt sped towards its mark superheating the air in its wake. The second Jackal was quicker then his dead comrade though and was already sending short barking shots Jon’s way. Dropping back into his cover he cursed silently, charge bolts he could handle at least they cauterized a wound. Solid shot like what the Jackal was shooting was a whole different issue. It was a bloody and savage type of round that would leave a man in agony as his life leaked into the dirt. “Dirty Jackals” he thought out loud, as he came up again and froze, stunned to be looking down the barrel of the same gun he was cursing. Jon’s world went silent as he realized they had finally gotten him. He let out a sigh as the hand holding the pistol jerked and waited for his death.

CLICK…

Jon and the Jackal stared at each other, blue eye matched against mirrored visor for just a moment and then they moved. The Jackal brought its left gauntlet in a wide arc towards Jon’s head. He ducked under the clumsy blow bringing his charge pistol up to the suit’s helmet but the Jackal was already moving again and knocked Jon’s hand high as the gun went off harmlessly. He was faster than Jon had expected, this was bad. In the second that he was considering this fact a black reinforced boot landed squarely in his gut sending him flailing back on to the remnants of the car he had been hiding behind. The suit was on him in an instant and Jon cried out as his throat was seized by a cold armored hand. The Jackal began to slowly squeeze the life from Jon with steady pressure. Furiously clawing at the hand Jon realized he was not going to be able to pry the vice from his neck, he needed to reach one of his pistols that he had lost when he hit the car. Thrashing violently he laid his eyes on one of his guns where it had fallen in the front seat of the ruined car, it was close. Jon forced his leg in between himself and the Jackal and began to push back trying to lift the suit off of him enough to make a reach for the grip of the pistol. As he laid his hand on the weapon the Jackal recognized the threat and began to force more pressure into the servos of his gauntlet. Jon could hear the tendons in his neck grinding against each other and his vision exploded in pain. As stars played through his eyes his hand wrapped around the smooth handle of his pistol and his thumb keyed the activation nub. A high whine sang out over the fight as Jon hauled the heavy hand cannon to underneath the Jackals helm and pulled the trigger. Again thunder roared through the ruins and the suit went slack on top of Jon. Coughing, he pushed the dead Jackal off of him and wheezed through his bruised throat. Looking down at the now headless body he hacked a bit of blood on to the armor, “Too fast” he whispered and holstered his pistol.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Power of "Yes"

When was the last time you just said "Yes"?

Yes to something fun or new? Something that you never thought would come your way in a million years? 

The universe has a way to throw things our way and, on a generality, we are more often than not going to tell it "No".  We do it for many reasons. primarily among them is fear. Fear of what the outcome will be, fear of what people will think of us if we say yes to it, and most importantly fear of doing something out side of our normal realm of... doing.

This thing that makes us say no is a very real condition called a negativity bias.  This is a throw back to our caveman days when we really did have to worry about the things going wrong and actually killing us. Totally understandable.

The thing is, the things that we are generally turning away from now rarely, if ever, result in a risk to life and limb. It may result in an uncomfortable situation, but that can be surmounted... death... not in the cards for most of now a days.

You do it all the time with out even really noticing you're doing it.

"No"... that is easy.

On the other hand it takes an immense amount of courage to say yes. It takes trust too; trust that what ever has come your way has come your way for a reason.

There's an old adage, I learned it from my grandma... you all have heard too in one way or another I'm sure: "We are never given more than we can handle".  You don't end up in situations because they are completely random. Every choice we have ever made has brought to these moments. Moments that we can decide to step back and let what might be run by, or jump in the flow and see what happens.

Most of us step back, and that is normal! It's okay, it's understandable.

What I'm on about is the need tha we all have to go further. A need that cannot nor will not be fulfilled by saying no. Why? Because we don't change then. We don't challenge ourselves. Or it my not even be an issue of a challenge but an issue of getting ourselves comfortable and not wanting to break that status quo.

Think about it. We are far more "comfortable" sitting on a couch, devouring oreo's, and binge watching some show on Netflix. But our body is screaming for more. It wants to be used. It tells you as much too. That bored feeling.. the one where you feel like you want to go do something, but you don't know what. That is your body telling you it does care what you do, just that you need to do something.

Personally, I use going to the gym. It's challenging for me, it's uncomfortable; but at the end I feel fantastic because I said yes. I am rewarded for this "yes" with more strength and bigger muscles, that will be (hopefully) admired by someone.

Shallow?

Yes.

I mean that payoff is about as deep as a plate of cereal, but it's better than nothing.

That one "yes" has improved me, and I love that fact. To be fair, saying "yes" has landed me in hot water in the past. But those are situations that have taught me the wisdom of "to what" and "when" to say "yes to.

If I had stuck with the original "no" that is hardwired into my mind, I would have learned nothing. At all. Which is a sad state. You can never know how good you can be if you never ever try anything.

Best way I have ever heard it put was in the cartoon "Adventure Time" 




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

It's the little things that matter

There are times that you really don't want to. Times that when you are so tired, so overcome, and so fed up, that you are almost ready to give up.  That's fine, we've all been there, at least once.

Me too!

What we cannot do is let ourselves get down on ourselves for feeling that way.  We need to know that it is okay to feel that way sometimes. It's in those moments that we find out what we are really made of. DO we push through, or stay down.

Life isn't all sunshine and lollipops. We all know that, this is no secret. But life is not about how hard we can hit, today's world seems to look at how successful we are; it's about how hard we can get hit and keep getting back up. How many time we can take that hit and keep pushing forward.

All over the internet I see motivationals that tell you everything is, or will be, okay.

This is obviously not true, but what really gets me... really gets my goat... is the prevailing idea that we cannot allow ourselves to feel down. It somehow became the prevailing mindset that we have to be perpetually optimistic. This drives me up the wall.

There used to be a time, I remember not too long ago that we were able to allow ourselves to actually feel down, and people would generally let us be that way. Of course if it carried on too long our loved one's would begin to try and pull us out of it out of sheer concern. Beyond that, we were left to our own devices.

Fast forward to today... heaven forbid you be down and out about something. Or allow a failure to ruin an otherwise good day. These are good things to have happen. They teach us that we can get through it. No matter how bad, we are/were strong enough to get through it. Might have taken a while but we did it.

Failure, is a bad thing. Period. It sucks, it hurts, and no one should ever be okay with it. That in mind, failure is a part of life. We all have to go through it, pick ourselves up, and figure out how not to do that again. But as is the case now, so many people go through it, pick themselves up, and then forget to figure out how not to do it again. This is crap. We are adults. Or at least we are supposed to be. A little bit of self review is not a bad thing.

Now then, what can be done to alleviate these failure, small and large?

The details. Always the details.

Do the little things that become habits to make you successful. There is truth to the proverb "if always do what you've always done". Make certain that you are doing the little tings that successful people do and the larger ones come easier.

"But how, and what?" I hear you cry, my friendly reader.

Start small, little easy things that we really should have been doing since the early days.

Try this: Make your bed every morning.

I know. It sounds silly. So silly it's almost trivial. And that is the point of it. It's so trivial, so simple, and yet so few people actually do it. But when you do, you realize after about a week or so of doing it that you actually are starting your day by doing something.

It doesn't mattter that it's silly. It doesn't matter that at the end of the day you are going to just climb right back into that same bed and mess it up all over again. you start each day by completing a task. Much like brushing your teeth; you're just gonna end up eating during the day anyway and having to brush them again.

But I doubt that you, my fair reader, would consider foregoing oral hygiene for that reason.

Moving on from there it is easy to set up little check points in your routine that you can make, well.. routine.

Some that I have to make sure I take care of are seemingly silly (and yes I mess up and don't do them from time to time)

Always put my coffee cup in the dish washer. 

Change out the towel in my gym bag.

Write in my journal (even if it's simple "well it's Wednesday")

These are little things that take a grand total of no more than 20 minutes.

(I can't make the bed on account of the wife still being asleep at 4am)

But moreover, these are things that I do, because I know I need to do them so I don't have to worry about it later. I always have a clean coffee mug, my gym towel isn't funky at the end of my work out, and I know exactly what the day is.

Again these may seem like little things, but I cannot tell you how much it messes with my day if I don't do them. or my next morning in the case of the coffee cup.

Putting into place a system that you worry about the little things, the details first, opens up your mental RAM for other more important tasks. Getting that report done at work, getting the bills paid, or getting some writing done.  It's the same theory that we are all far more productive in a clean space because we don't think about how badly the room needs tidying up, we know we can just focus on the task at hand.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading.

And go make your bed.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The dreaded "FZ"

Ah, the friend zone. We've all been there. She's amazing, beautiful, funny, bewitching, and totally not into you. You, are a blip on her radar by the sole dint of biology, and that's it.

SUCK!!!

Like I said: We have all been there, at least once. Some get there more than once. I know I did... over and over and over again. Wondering what I could do to get her to notice me, how should I dress, what should I say, or is there some winning combo of traits that would make her finally perk up and take notice.  I was certain there was, there had to be. I saw all of the other guys gobbling up girls so quickly I couldn't figure it out. Those guys always had some pretty girl on their arm that I was envious of. All the time, some new girl that just... wow... how does he do it?

I never thought about that last part much, or at all. They always had some new girl on their arm. I was in awe of the fact that they had landed the girl that I never stopped to think about the fact that they always had a new one, because the other one had, wisely, bailed on a situation that was bad for her.

Let repeat that: I NEVER REALIZED THEY HAD NEW GIRLS BECAUSE THE LAST ONE BAILED.

Of course I didn't. I was busy being a failure with women. Not getting dates, being awkward, stumbling over myself in conversations. It was, to my mind, a terrible state of affairs.. or lack thereof to be honest. I just couldn't do it, I couldn't be cool enough to get in. I remember there was a whole year and a half that I had zero romantic prospects. That was a lonely 18 months.

Guys know...

There were quite a few girls that I was keen on but to be honest I never took the shot because I didn't want to feel that sting of rejection again. It got that bad, I refused to talk to any girl in that capacity because I was tired of getting shot down. A fair and completely understandable position to be in. Really.

What I never did though was blame the girls for this. I knew that it was me. I had no illusions on that matter. I was out of shape and shy. I was not what I wanted to be, and as a consequence, not someone that was readily wanted. I was (gasp) a total dork. I never once considered blaming her, whomever "her" might be, though. That would have been a total loser thing to do.

Oh how things have changed in 15 years. Oh how they have changed...

and not for the better

I recently witnessed a conversation at my local Starbucks that astounded me by its sheer level of wonton misogyny. There were a couple of youngish guys, early 20's not a day past that though, discussing a girl that they new mutually, so it would seem.  Apparently fella one was quite smitten with the girl but, and I quote; "she just won't let me out of the friend zone". To which his compatriot promptly responded, and I quote again; "bitches just want the asshole, man"

My jaw dropped. I couldn't fathom the fact that the second guy had just said it, let alone that the first didn't put his buddy in place for the comment. All he could do was nod sheepishly at the apparent truth of the statement. There are few moments in my life that I am at a loss for words, but this, this was one of them.  The two of them were actually blaming the young lady for her not being interested in the guys' advances. Seriously... what the actual fuck?

Really, who can blame her though? If this is how they talk about her behind her back, then surely she is capable of smelling the rat.

You'll giggle soon.

But it did get me to thinking. Why is it now okay to mewl on and on about the lack of ones' romantic life instead of actually recognizing that one may be the issue one's self. I see a ton of stuff online about figuring out how to pick girls up but none, or rather very few, actually focus on the real issue: the failings of the man in question.  There are tons and tons of sites devoted to how to pick up a girl, get her number, and maybe add another notch to the belt, but very few that focus on being the type of guy that women want.

They teach guys tricks. Tricks are by definition for show. To be done at the drop of a hat to impress someone. but at the end, they are nothing more than a delicately contrived set of motions to go through, no real substance. This is a terrible thing for young men to learn. Terrible. Pile on top of that that what they are doing is trying to convince the girl they are something they are not, which last time I checked is the definition of deception.

The funny thing about deception is that you, necessarily, yield your position to the deceived, thus making you work all that much harder. You have have granted them a reality that you now have to maintain, given them absolute power over you. (actually... we'll hit on that in a different post)

Suffice to say, you are not who you say you are, and now have to preform myriad other tricks, like a puppy, to stay in said lady's good graces. Lest she find out you are a complete fraud. I know of no men that are able to maintain that level of effort at all times. We are, by nature, creatures of comfort, and that amount of work, I can only imagine is tiresome at best.

So, those guys that are not good at these tricks end up trying to latch on to a woman that, most certainly, has seen most of them in the past and probably fell for one or two of them. Therefore, she is understandably wary. She keeps that guy at arms reach, precisely because she knows it's a show and has no interest in buying a ticket to see a sequel to a movie she didn't like in the first place.

 Those originals are the aforementioned "assholes" that guy two from above.

She is now on the look out for a man that is sure of himself, not full of himself.  there is a significant and striking difference. Example: Most of these "pick up guys" go to the gym with expressed purpose of looking good with their shirt off (full of) whereas the guy that she's on the hunt for will most likely be going for the intent of actually being strong (sure of). It's a silly comparison, I know, but apt none the less.

If you're in "the friend zone" it is because you're friend material, not lover material. Again, the difference is striking. So go out and make yourself better; learn a skill, memorize poetry, lift some weights... do something that makes you better for you not anyone else. She'll see it and you'll be in a better place.

In short, become a man. Stop being a boy that is wanting to get laid, and you'll find women will, with luck, want to make you theirs.

Live it, learn it, and love it guys.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Geekdom and manliness

Geeks get a bum rap, a lot. Men in the geek community get it bad too, I mean from the get go we're working from behind the eight ball. We're not the best looking, strongest, fastest, or most interesting people. But we are still men, and as such have a truly important thing to do with our lives.

BE MEN!

I know, a lot of you are thinking "that's easy, I have a dick..." But wait my friendly reader. Is that really all it takes? Really?

And all of you are sitting there wondering when I'm gonna get to the point. Patience, precious, patience.

Seriously, wait... all good things and such.


Sure, that thing betwixt your legs sure does define you as male, that's without a doubt. A scientific certainty. Though, medically... no... not going down that road.

Anyway, where did you go wrong? Don't know. I don't know when it happens but some of us never become men. Some of us hem and haw over the transition, some of us flatly refuse to be involved in the whole thing.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that enjoying Star Wars/Trek, and getting in a little video gaming from time to time is a terribly bad thing. It's really not. But there comes a time that we have to, all of us, well... to man up.

So many of us willingly allow the stupid stereotyping continue, be it the buffoonery that we see on our prefered sitcoms or the silliness of stupid yogurt commercials. We sit back and let the mass tell us that we are supposed to be childlike and incompetent. Which is incredibly shitty. For one, it's mean, and for two, it sets such a low bar for us to strive for. I mean, really, we are efficient creatres and if the path to success is easier than hard, well, we'll do it the easy way.

Now I find it odd that so many of us accept this as the status quo. Considering that so many of the role models that we grew up with are.. well, pretty freaking manly.  Think about it. Do any of our video game heroes just lean back and say "that's good enough"? No, no they do not. they are constantly trying to succeed at the thing in front of them. Our movie heroes? Tell me for one second that Korbin Dallas takes the easy road and I'll call you a damn liar, I might also smack you upside the head on principle alone.

Because seriously, is this the face of a guy that fucks around?

 But then we come to the crux of the issue. What is manliness? There's a ton of crap out there that says manly is this or that. Be a good Pick Up Artist (PUA), make a lot of money, and so on and so forth. Remarkably, there is a large part of the male community that decides that these are actually ideal though processes. That making a ton of cash and being able to cajole a lady onto our cajones is what is best. Now, I can think of a Cimmerian that might heartily disagree with that, and I would agree with him. In the geek culture it's even worse though! So many of us have lived lives as supposed "beta" males that we think that we have to overcome it with 100% grade A brazen bull shit.

You know of what I speak... the most hated of all "nice guys"... guh... I hate these guys. Not only are they terrible examples of what men are but are also the most horrific models of how men act.  I, personally,  rate these guys as sleazy as the PUA's. Everything they do is premised on the idea of tricking said girl into thinking that they are something that they are not. Then, god forbid, the woman rebuff their advances, they are the first to turn into the most horrible and shockingly virulent misogynists. This is not how men act, this is how petulant children act. The, for all intents and purposes, through a temper tantrum.

Interestingly... it's almost that easy to spot them.
And these guys. These fucking guys, are the ones that rant and rage at any guy that stewps in and says "hey you're being a bit of a prick". They turn on the guy, and with nothing but anger in their heart tell well meaning and sane, guy that he's just a "pussy whipped white knight" (no shit, a sentence I've heard uttered). So instead of taking the time to make themselves better, it is the fault of everyone else for them being the common denominator.

All the while, a quiet majority are crying out "We're better than this! You can be better than this." Almost to no avail. Geek men have it in their heads that The "alpha" has the leg up and that girls only go for "jerks". Well, most of the time, those jerks are actually pretty good guys that are taking the time to figure out how to be them and making horrible mistakes. Unlike the mouth breathing troll that has a line up of clean and practiced lines. There is a specific reason that those other guys get the girl. While they may not be perfect, they are a shit ton more honest that the neckbeard tool that complains about being in the "freindzone"

Actually... that in itself is a fantasitc topic... hmmm next time Gadget! NEXT TIME!!!!!

you know what, let's pick this conversation up next week.

For now, go out and be better. Not better than the next guy, but better than you. The princess is not always in another castle. Sometimes their is no princess. But that shouldn't keep you from becoming a man that a princess would want.

and hey, you never know.