Monday, June 18, 2012

Not Much Traffic

Blogger never turned up as many views as Wordpress.  Though Blogger offers the theme you are now viewing, which has far more customization options, I can't let appearance alone dictate where to put my work.  So though I'm not closing Invictus4ever, I've resumed Heroes 'N Pirates as my main blog.  On the first day back Wordpress garnered twice the views of Blogger.  See ya there!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Resist Aging

Readers know I'm coping with end-stage arthritis in my shoulders.  I still do what I can but it's a far cry from where I was.  Here are some comparison photos.  The first two, in which I'm obviously in shape, are c. summer '05. The latter two, with a ridiculously light dumbbell and remnants of winter fat, are today 6/16/12.  These are the same PNF patterns for rotator cuff mentioned in a previous post.  Still, the objective is, always, to be the best I can be at any given age.

Why Lift?

Over thirty-five years of training I'm sometimes asked, "Why?"  Some years ago I read a Keith Richard's quote in, I think it was Rolling Stone, that went something like this, (I'll paraphrase according to memory).

"No great musician ever picked up the guitar to make a lot of money.  You play to express something inside of you."  That transposes well to lifting.  No great performance lifter lifts to stay in shape, it's a need to express dominance.

As I've just wrapped up Rocket Men by Craig Nelson I came across a quote about the reason behind space exploration that also transposes to "Why lift?"

"I think we all know why people strive to accomplish such things.  They do so for reasons that are intuitive and compelling to all of us but that are not necessarily logical.  They're exactly the opposite of acceptable reasons which are imminently logical but neither intuitive nor emotionally compelling.  Most of us want to be... the first or the best in some activity, we want to stand out.  This behavior is rooted in our genes."  -Sergey Korolyov
@ 203 lbs. 6/16/12

Monday, June 11, 2012


Driving to work today, I followed a car with a white pit bull whose head was out the window.  Because he reminded me so much of my old buddy Zeus, I'll assume it was a "he."    He wore a harness and I suspect was attached inside the car.  Even though I couldn't see his face, his pleasure was palpable.  Both ears flapped in the wind as did his lips.  It was very comical and, training aside, the high point of my day.

There has been much written about the woes of letting your dog keep his head out the window.  I don't allow it myself but it's an indulgence some cannot resist.  Yet I cannot bring myself to condemn owners because I'm too busy gleaning vicarious enjoyment from those happy canine faces.

Touch of Humor

When I unsuccessfully searched for an image of a muscular Odysseus slaying suitors for the last post, I found nothing appropriate.  But way down the page was this and it is too good to pass up:

Dominance & Retribution

Tales of revenge are among the closest to my heart.  The end of Homer's Odyssey, when Odysseus slaughters his wive's suitors is, for me, the most memorable and satisfying part of the epic.

"'Far baser men are courting the wife of a stately man.  They are not even able to string his bow.""   -Eurymachos fretting what some Achaian might say  

"'You dogs, you never thought that I would any more come back from the land of Troy, and because of that you despoiled my household, and forcibly took my serving women to sleep with you, and sought to win my wife while I was still alive, fearing neither the immortal gods who hold the wide heaven, nor any resentment sprung from men to be yours in the future.  Now upon all of you the terms or destruction are fastened.'      Odysseus to his wife's suitors 

"So he spoke and the green fear took hold of all of them, and each man looked about him for a way to escape sheer death."   - from the Richmond Lattimore translation

Magnus Samuelsson shows what it means to be dominant.

A "Marriage Team"

"My wife is a wonderful, wonderful person who was a complete support system...  When we got married... it was like a team... "  - Frank Borman

- from Rocket Men by Craig Nelson

Playing Back the Data

"You'll play the data back.  You're  looking for something so you can try to find a cause or an answer.  And you're actaully doing what amounts to meaningless work.  You're basically trying to kill the time.  And we couldn't find any answers...  The next morning we came back out to work again, trying to see if there was any answers.  Because in that kind of environment you're trying to find out why.  What happened etc.  And there were no answers."     - Gene Kranz on the aftermath of the Apollo 1 disaster.

"Nearly twenty years later Pat White, in the middle of organizing an Apollo wives reunion, committed suicide."  (her husband immolated in Apollo 1)

from Rocket Men by Craig Nelson

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Green Fields - WWI Tribute

The Dropkick Murphys are among the best.  This piece has a softer melody but a powerful emotional punch.  As a little kid I went to many WWI battlefields, tombs and memorials.  Very moving.  I recommend clicking full screen mode.

Oh how do you do, young Willy McBride
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
And rest for a while in the warm summer sun
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done
And I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the great falling in 1916
Well I hope you died quick
And I hope you died clean
Or Willy McBride, was is it slow and obscene

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined
And though you died back in 1916
To that loyal heart you're forever nineteen
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Forever enshrined behind some old glass pane
In an old photograph torn, tattered, and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

The sun shining down on these green fields of France
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance
The trenches have vanished long under the plow
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard that's still no mans land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation were butchered and damned

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

And I can't help but wonder oh Willy McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause
Did you really believe that this war would end wars
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing and dying it was all done in vain
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

Friday, June 8, 2012

Get Close to the Fire

One of the books I'm currently reading is Close Friends, How Girls and Women Forge Lasting Relationships, by Suzanne Degges-White & Christine Borzumato-Gainey.  I've found the book both interesting and validating.  It confirms something I've long ago realized: in friendships and relationships my emotional comportment, thoughts and behaviors more closely resemble what society calls a female perspective.  I don't buy that bullshit though.   My close male friends, tattooed muscle heads, and I are emotionally articulate men.  In my mind a person who handles the emotional realm with alacrity is fully developed and those men who cannot seem like cowards.  I've always been a bull-by-the-horns guy.  Seriously, what are they afraid of?  If they fear looking less masculine, well, I'd hate to have such a tenuous grasp on my identity.  But I guess that's a problem I don't have.  

So while this happens to be a library copy, I've got reams of bookmarks in interesting passages.  Here's one that jumped out at me tonight.  A woman named Rebecca who was interviewed by the authors said:

"You can appreciate a bright roaring fire from a distance and enjoy the view.  It adds a nice touch and you can imagine the warmth that is coming from the flames.  Kind of like enjoying the presence of colorful, entertaining acquaintances.  Yet to truly feel the warmth of the fire and benefit from the energy it produces, you have to move closer - just like with building friendships.  You have to let yourself get close before you can enjoy the warmth and bask in the glow."

Yep, my thoughts exactly.  I deeply value my few close friends and everyone else?  Not so much.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Vet's? Yay!

Ty had his annual checkup.  His trot is still a surprising symphony of grace though he turned thirteen in March, is hard of hearing and has clouded vision, a shadow of his former self.  And he knows.  Mak, who out-weighs him by some twenty pounds, knocks him about at will.  Ty can't do much about it, so he doesn't; that's not the Ty of yesteryear, not on your life.

Ty tires quickly and is smart enough not to bite more than he can chew.  Har har.  When he was young he'd launch into dogs twice his size and got them singing.  Once he'd clamped down, good luck getting him off without a breaking stick.  Fortunately he never had a mouth so no damage resulted.  When he was ten he played so intense, for so long, with a young Akita mix, the youngster came up lame.  He still enjoys rough and tumble play though and often just when I think to pull Mak away 'cause it looks like Ty's had enough, he leaps in to "attack."

With needy and affectionate Mak in the picture, Ty falls into shadows, just like Mak himself did when Krikit  (Chihuahua-Sheba Inu far as we could tell) was part of the house, a story for another time.  Ty is far more independent than Mak, content to lay in some other part of the house enjoying retirement while Mak's follows me and stares.  So it's easy to forget what a great friend, how much fun, Ty has been.

Ty's checkup was hot that day so I couldn't bring Mak to the vet's and leave him in the car, nor would patrons find his lunge 'n bark schtick amusing.  So I prepared a peanut butter and kibble Kong, but voracious eater though he is, he wasn't having any of it.  As I loaded Ty into the car, Mak's big noggin was in the window giving yelps of "bring me!" "bring me!"  Awe.  Broke my heart.

At the vet's office Ty spruced right up.  Like most dogs I've had, he loves going to the vet.  Sweet talked, poked and prodded by a couple of strangers?  Plus, there're dog & cat smells in there, what could be more fun?  Gleeful tail wagging and animated demeanor showed just how much fun it really was.  And that is one of the pleasures of dog companionship, enjoying vicariously what they enjoy.
Camping with my Ol' Boy, summer '11.

All Show - No Go

Two oh five.  That's what the scale reads when I stand on it bare-assed, in the morning prior to eating/drinking and after using the "facilities."  Not as lean as I was late winter, I'll be paring a few pounds o' blubber for summer.

Inability to performance train has impacted me profoundly.  I'm affronted my body will not do the things I want to demand.  I'm the captain of this ship, goddamnit!  So as I entered the bathroom and happened to glance in the mirror I was taken aback by the muscular figure in the reflection.  That's still me?  I thought I'd whithered away.

It's amazing how much muscle mass one can retain without much real work.  I guess an outsider would think I'm training hard if they could view a session.  But I know better.  Hard (for me) is putting 315 on a trap bar and doing a set of 12 high pulls when you weigh 200.  Training hard is 250X10 on one armed dumbbell rows, or weighing 200 and squatting 325X25, no wraps or suit, breaking parallel on each rep.  It's training that makes your lungs burn, leaves you gasping on your back creating a "sweat angel" on the rubber matting.

I used to say, it's easy to look muscular, posting performance numbers is what takes work.  Gyms are full of muscular guys but you don't often seen performances like those above.  Now my a rinky-dink body, has coerced me to become one of those all show - no go guys... so I startle myself in the mirror.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Another One?! How Do They Do That?

This one's new for me.  'Course I've been a U.S. Bombs fan for years but this song I don't have.  How do punk bands write music that precisely narrates of the futility of my life?    She won't come back, but goddamnit I don't want to move on, don't want anyone else.  "Unattached but I'm attached."  And "life's to fucking short."   The melody - perfect high energy.

The UPS man just pulled up 
He dropped a package on the steps
My ticket out is in that box
Been waiting for a month
tore it up and ripped it out
And slid on linoleum
Unattached but I'm attached
I roll around

It's hot outside it's dead inside
I'm out I'd rather melt
X-heads is killing cats
Smoked potatoes on the couch

No one's left I got in common
It's time to check out
Unattached but I'm attached
I roll around

Unattached but I'm attached
 I roll around[
Unattached but I'm attached 
I roll around

Yeah I fucking roll because
My life's too fucking short
Those marathon goodbyes
One day will be for good
Break  out and leave this life behind
That's my favorite song
Unattached but I'm attached
I roll around

Unattached but I'm attached 
I roll around
Unattached but I'm attached 
I roll around

Bizarre Duality

Anyone who reads this blog is well aware I'm a profoundly unhappy person, getting better slowly maybe, but still quite messed up.  You don't potentially lose your identity to health problems, then unexpectedly lose your wife and the house you've just finished building all within a few short months, without having repercussions.

Whenever I think of my ex I long for her desperately, wonder what she's doing and whom with.  Not that it's my business.  We're divorced and I haven't heard from her in weeks.  But I'm still in mourning and might be for a long,long time.  That's one side of the duality.

Here's the bizarre second part.  For much of last week I noticed I was in a pretty good mood (considering).  I used humor at work and took pleasure in a variety of things around me, and hell, this is without even training as I'm currently fighting a damn virus I picked up at work.  Were I training my mood would have been even higher.  I'm not happy, not about anything, so why am I in a pretty good mood?  I'm not one of those emotionally inarticulate Neanderthals whose inner workings are a mystery.  In fact, I would venture that I know myself far better than the majority of the population.  And I would never have thought this duality possible.  A good mood while unhappy.  WTF?!  I would never have conceived of such a ridiculous idea.

The only thing I can speculate is that it's my naturally buoyant, yeah that's right - buoyant personality coming to the surface.  Because strange as it may sound for a guy who's contemplated suicide, I've never been the depressive type.  Lonely?  Okay, lonely.  But most definitely not depressed.  By my mid-twenties I clearly remember thinking I'd never really experienced what others described when they spoke of depression.  Sure, I've hit brief periods of situational depression later in life.  There was the time my first wife left, but that might be more accurately labeled "heartbreak."  Then there was the time my mom fell and had a tough time in '07.  But those were nothing like this past year, bleak and black!  I'm surprised I made it through.  So a good mood?  For several days running?  Must be that buoyant personality of mine.  (Dusting my fingernails on my chest.)

And since were on the topic of things bright and cheery, here's a little piece of music with rather macabre lyrics but a real finger-snapper, I'm sure you'll agree:
...and if that didn't make you feel a damn sight more buoyant, well, not much will.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Feel Good Music

Some classics to train by straight from my gym.  Oh my god, I hear this and want to rush downstairs, load the bar and see what I'm made of.

Though this was only 75 lbs., check out the hand prints left on my thighs.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ol' Favorites: Say Ahhh...

In my never ending quest to find the ultimate snarling face, I periodically Google "attack" or "fierce dog" images.  Here're a couple gold standard, old favorites.  I love the massive head and heavy coat of this Akita.  I swear the next doggie I get will be one like him to watch over our campsites.

Is that saliva coming out of this pooches mouth or what?  I usually only get droolies like that when dinner comes out of the oven.  Okay, maybe when I'm sleeping, but I wouldn't know about that.

Nothing, Nothing Can Replace It

I'm currently on Rocket Men, The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson.  Nelson talks of the isolation some wives of Apollo project workers felt.*  Quite similar, really, to the way some whalers wives felt.  Apollo 11 CapCom Charlie Duke's wife Dotty:

I considered divorce but I wondered if any man could love me the way I wanted to be loved. Was there even such a thing as the perfect marriage?  It didn't look like it anymore so I began to look for other things to fulfill me.  I tried a career.  I tried church work.  I volunteered with the Head Start program and volunteered with the needy.  Nothing worked.  I'll admit it, I even tried drugs.  When the marijuana didn't work either I thought, maybe there is no purpose in life.  You just live and die and that's all there is.  That's when I began to think about suicide.  I lost all hope.  Doesn't that seem strange?  I was married to a famous man, had a nice home and  healthy children, plenty of money yet I had no hope.

This is a clear illustration of the human need for closeness with one's partner.  If you don't have it nothing, nothing can fill the hole.  Alright, I'm going out on a limb here... cringe... not even a dog!  There I said it.  It's like the precise configuration of an enzyme receptor site.  Only one specific enzyme can attach and catalyze the required action.

I could relate to Dotty Duke.  I've got many, many good things in my life, too many to count.  Yet as Angie points out, none of that material wealth or life distraction amounts to much without the emotional sustenance that comes from love.
Beltones - Shitty in Pink
*Coincidentally the ravenous time-sink that was Apollo 11 even affected my mother, brother and I.  During those years my dad worked consistent overtime much of it devoted to the space project.  I believe he himself crafted very precise fittings for the space suits.

The Paucity

It's always a pleasure when one discovers feelings expressed in writing that closely mirror one's one.  For a while I was listening to the audio book, A Covert Affair, by Jennet Conant.  To be honest, I returned it unfinished to the library as I was side-tracked by other material.  But the paragraphs below jumped out at me.  They describe Paul Child's (Julia Child's husband) feelings while stationed in Kandy, Sri Lanka, before the two became a couple.

"Complaining about the paucity of female companionship in Kandy. He was lonely and longed to meet a woman who was his equal. An intimate intelligent and understanding companion. Paul saw himself as connoisseur of the fairer sex and lamented that his high standards exacerbated the problems. “I am really spoiled for other women and I realize it over and over. For 17 years he'd been involved with a woman named Edith Kennedy, living with her first in Paris and then in Cambridge Massachusetts. She was twenty years his senior and tremendously dynamic and sophisticated. He regarded her as the great love of his life and was devastated by her death from cancer..."

Conant continues:

"He elaborated his dream type of woman. She was a Zorina in honor of the famous ballet dancer Vera Zorina who possessed, besides beauty and a goddess-like body what is lacking in the warring man-ridden world: sense of the continuity of life and perpetual sympathy, fellow feeling and consolation."

I could totally relate.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Supreme Human Being

Sorry about the poor quality of this video.  It was shot in '84.  Pisarenko - the consumate male:

As one of the comments for the above video said, he not only out-performed all others, "he was the best looking super ever, in every way" i.e. not fat... wide as a barn and talk about traps!
G'head and try a few of these!  The photo makes me itch to load a bar.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Accolade from a Barbell King

Over the past months I've taken heat for this blog.  A couple of readers didn't like my tone and one stopped reading back when it was Heroes 'n' Pirates.  These people could do a better job, apparently. So, creating blogs being free, g'head boys, have at it.  Meantime, I received an accolade from Brian who, allowing for a backlog of posts to be written, checks Invictus every month or so.

I violate one of the primary rules of blogging by not focusing on one specific subject.  This "indiscretion" is deliberate.  As I stated in Heroes 'n' Pirates, "Blending the fine elements of life for those whose souls are true."

Brian felt variety keeps the blog fresh.  He said lifting and camping specifically rough camping compliment each other.  "Both are primitive, they fit."  He also recognized my pain of the past year.  "Man, 'that' hit you hard," he said, "hurricane, earthquake and flood all at once."  He was sufficiently moved to read some of my more poignant entries to his longtime girlfriend.

Compliments being scarce, those that come down the pike carry weight, even more so from him since our friendship rests almost entirely on performance training.  After all Brian is not into camping, doesn't strike one as a romantic and doesn't have a dog.  Yet he recognizes what I'm trying to do.

So who is this guy who can appreciate passions other than his own?  We met at a strongman contest where his intensity and enthusiasm for performance created instant common ground.

I've got to say, I'm envious of his genetics.  Several years older than me, Brian looks considerably younger than he is.  And unlike me, he is still capable.  Most people not waylaid by injuries at our stage of life are Johnny-Come-Latelys who frittered away younger years doing who knows what, certainly not wringing performance from their bodies.

Not Brian who in the mid-eighties pulled 690 at 193 earning him the #3 spot in ADFPA (American Drug Free Powerlifting Association) national rankings.  And in the open field matched against any and every drug user, he stood 10th in the country.  At over six feet it's hard to imagine him only 193.  "I was like an anatomy chart," he says, "skinny as a rail."  He's bigger now but still lean, a rarity for his age, in obese America.  What makes his capacity for performance even more remarkable is that he's not whiling away eight hours a day behind some desk.  "Work" for Brian means running a jack hammer or wielding a shovel.  He is the person who gave me quarry chainIt's a bit of a mystery how someone with such innate intelligence could end up in a labor job but he's quick to point out that in a rural landscape earning a decent living is challenging.  Labor that shortly breaks most men pays relatively well.  

Brian is an iconic specimen of human male, shake his hand and you sense volcanic power.  Here's a guy who could wrench a bull to the ground.  When you're that strong you've got no worries.  Only a gun might give you pause.  Put guns down and pure supremacy is yours.  Period.

Knowing Brian keeps one's feet on the ground.  Dominating commercial gym after commercial gym it's easy to perceive oneself as Barbel King.  It's easy to forget others out there, others with talent and drive rather than just drive.  And so in his presence one realizes that while strong, one might just be a Barbell Baron and leave 700+ drugfree deadlifts to kings like Brian.  And no disgrace from that 'cause one can still wipe the floor with 99% of human peasantry.

But one thing's sure, when kings like Brian move Sampson's pillars, I'll be there with quill and blood to scratch it onto parchment.
A few summers ago.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Don't Settle for Less

My entire life has been the quest for physical supremacy.  These days my body can no longer handle the joint stress but that hasn't changed my soul one jot.  How many times have I been dismayed to discover someone I'm speaking with "works out?"  ...sometimes they've been for years.  Really?  What in god's name are they doing in the gym?  Nothing I'd recognize as training.

The kind of training I'm talking about takes a bit of drive.  Girls don't accept a guy who doesn't have it.  Why settle for - at best - mediocrity?  Donny Shankle shows how it's done, though for me, I'd throw on punk rock instead of the crap they're listening to.  (I recommend opening a separate window to hear punk while watching the Shankle video on mute.)  Note how Shankle carries himself.  It's the Barbell King swagger, top of the world.  How many times in 35 years have I been right in those shoes?  (Sans his genetics, alas!)  And if you're not training, go home.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Highwayman- Ultra Romantic - Ultra Tragic

I've done the ultimate faux pas by paraphrasing a poem.  Here is the goodbye stanza of Alfred Noyes ultra romantic - ultra tragic, The Highwayman:

He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i' the casement!  His face burned like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.

And the conclusion, the rider now a ghost:

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark innyard;
And he taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love knot into her long black hair.

If you're a romantic and haven't read it in its entirety, it's worth the time.

17+ Minutes of Destruction

Bored?  Watch this on full screen.  
It's also interesting to peruse failed demolitions.

Toldja He Likes Being Close!

Mak and I swam the pond for the first time this season.  It's later than our usual inaugural swim, 'round about April.  First I squeezed in training and then took a moment to lay with my boys and snap these photos.  I was told not to get two males but they've been best buddies for years now.  Mak first rests his head on my neck and chest then... plops right on my face.

Normal? Hah!

Got together with an old buddy today for a bite to eat.  We met at Whole Foods for their hot food/salad bar.  I focused on various proteins (post training - 80X30 on DB benches this week) as well as things I don't make at home such as seaweed salad. 
 We ate in their cafe later adjourning to outside tables.

"Are you pretty much back to normal with the (ex's name) thing?" he asked.

And I had to chuckle a bit inside.  Normal?  Last night, driving home from work, I cried so hard my face was soaked.  I'd dry my face then cry it all wet again.  That went on for, oh, maybe twenty minutes.  And let me tell you, that ain't normal for this cowboy.

When I got home I called my friend Kelly.  I told her we've just past a year to the day since my ex and moved out of our new house.  Looking back I can't understand how I survived.  I think the only thing that kept me going is the hope I could win my ex back.  Because knowing what I know  now, I'm not sure I could have faced it.  And Kelly, astute as she is, pointed out the paradox.  Perhaps hope kept me going then, but now, letting go of hope and moving on is the road to the future.  She's right of course, though I feel I'd forever take my ex back if she wanted another go at it.  I still think of her all the time, every day, but I also recognize I've come a long way.  And what the hell, holidays are always tough for us pariahs.

Get There First With The Most

Over the years I've often used other fields of endeavor to inspire my training.  Competing against oneself day in day out at outer edges of genetic capability one seeks that extra spark to supplement natural drive.  As a result I take an interest in many things aggressive.  People who know me superficially cannot reconcile how I admire stories of violence and aggression, after all, as noted in previous posts I've been too giving and kind.  Clearly they don't know me in the gym.  That's where, with less than mediocre genetics, my ferocity is expressed.

For years, all through college and beyond, I carried a little piece of paper in my wallet with this David Paul quote which I've paraphrased here: "Let me put it another way..." says David,  "suppose you're training in a gym, say, and your girl friend is there. And some great big guy comes in and... smacks your girl friend in the face and knocks her down. ...Do you look down the line of dumbbells on the rack for a 10-pound one you can pick up? No, you... grab the 250-pounder that's lying at your feet and... break it over his goddamn head. That's a Barbarian reaction and that's the way you should train." 

Press your advantage.  Or in the words of, Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, a "gentleman" notorious for NOT being a nice*, I'll "get their first with the most."

*Forrest was known to sharpen both sides of his saber, he had 30 horses shot out from under him and personally killed 33 people, most but not all, on a field of battle.  He was an extremely violent man yet a brilliant military tactician and strategist, the only person to rise from private to general in the four years of the Civil War.  He is most infamous, of course, for the Fort Pillow Massacre as well as connections, later severed, to the KKK.

Plyos 'n' Punk: Antidote to Blues, Blahs & Doldrums

Another great one from The Beltones - a long time favorite in the gym from years ago (No message intended towards anyone!):

Mashing Ivanko's Gripper.
Plyos, heaving MuscleDriver's 30lbs. medicine ball against concrete.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Insist & Persist

Looking for just the right blend of testosterone fueled, melodic music to fire up heavy hang cleans?  Guns 'n' Wangers does it:
Load the bar and when your body says "no," insist.  Here's Daniel McKim doing it with 425.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Old Sidekick

This goes back to '05 when Jonesy was c. 12.5 years old.  Taking a rest on a riverside beach.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chet & Bernie

I am TOTALLY in love with Chet, hero of the Little Detective Agency.  As readers know, I've had a very difficult year.  Chet consistently made me smile and laugh.  Real laughter and smiles, not polite bullshit, amigo.  I've listened to all four audio books and eagerly await Fistful of Collars due out in September.  Thanks to Spencer Quinn for writing brilliantly funny, engaging, dog-centric books.

If you love dogs, don't miss these books.  Chet is also listed in my blogroll. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Friend

It was the afternoon of a day off.  I was tired so I laid down on the bed, Mak followed to curl up under my arm. He tucked into my side, heaved a big sigh and we both dozed off together. He is such a comfort to hold. His body is warm and soft on the surface but under his sleek coat his flesh is race horse firm. This dog whom I don't have enough time to exercise is nevertheless muscular in the extreme, no fat.  Because our bodies feel similar (though in truth he's substantially leaner) we belong to each other, different species but of same stock.
I've dozed off but am jarred awake when his compact body spasms with a dream. One of his eyelids twitches on my shoulder with REM sleep. His ears begin to quake, the tip of one tickling my brachialis. Legs run in sleep and soft, closed-mouth barking begins in his throat. I feel every nuance and shift of his body.

He is my grounding companion, the one I see every day, the one I spoon with in the morning, the one who is besides himself with joy when I arrive home. Physically, he is an incredible specimen, a dog to live through armageddon. His drive is off the charts once he catches a scent and yet with respect to affection he's my “once in a lifetime dog.”  Dogs don't like to be hugged.  He does.  How lucky I am to have this incredible trusted friend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Two Day Bivouac

Despite a daytime start, it's dusk by the time we reach more rural climes.
We check several places in terms of least accessible and most remote.  (Glad to see my neck hasn't gone too far geezer... yet.)
The best places are never easy to get to.  We seek roads that will turn back Civics and SUVs...
...Like this one.  We stopped to check the depth of a daunting mud hole.  It was so deep and soft-bottomed that we cut our way through forest around it.
The trail was all bulging rocks and mud holes.  No Civics here.
Getting away from civilization to sit in front of a blaze makes the gas, expense and risk well worth it.
Lantern light and campfire.
Next morning we brewed tailgate coffee, planned our next move.
Mak inspects the 10-15,000 pound snatch block I purchased in case either of us get stuck.  It set me back $42 at Tractor Supply but because it could save us incredible time and expense, it's well worth it.
The second site is an old favorite of mine.  We built a huge fire to provide embers.
Using his tried and true technique, Ron shovels live coals into a pit in the ground over which he cooks.
A kitty litter bucket found on site provided a perfect cooking stool.
I was stunned that with his experienced eye, Ron was able to predict when the Cornish game hen would be fully cooked by embers.  No trial and error; he was accurate to the minute.  It was perfectly cooked, tender and moist.
That night we saw three satellites, possibly a fourth along with various meteors and a luna moth.  Next morning I drop-chained the dogs in the shade as Ron cooked breakfast.
With embers were still warm from the previous night he cooked bacon and eggs.  I don't eat breakfast nor bacon and eggs.  But it was interesting to watch him at his craft.
The dogs and I all tried one piece.  They also had eggs over-easy in their breakfast bowls.
After two hot days, Ty laid his chest in the stream, Mak ran around with glee wading to his floor boards.  Here Ron exits a culvert in a haze of non-biting bugs.
Mak watched me go through the culvert.
On our return we explored further.  I stayed with dogs, trucks and equipment while Mak (far left) watched Ron scout  beyond the barricade.
Both my boys quickly fell to snoozing on the homeward journey.