Just Drunk

It seems like just yesterday that my friends and I drank four to five times a week. Your tolerance goes through the roof when you’re “force fed” alcohol that often and it can be difficult for me to remove myself from that tolerance I once had. Two years has passed since then and I’ve really toned down my alcohol consumption, including a little over six months of not drinking at all. As such the past month has been an interesting return to form. Other than getting into a bar fight nearly a month ago, Saturday night was a hefty reminder of my lack of resilience to alcohol. Thankfully I was in my own home surrounded by those who I care most about so I was comfortably uncomfortable. For myself when I’m that far gone I tend to connect with music that much more, similar to going through an emotional trauma. Even though physically I was in tatters, mentally I was rediscovering myself. Thus there was a slew of tracks that night, and the painful morning after that brought up a range of emotion. I was considering making a Take a Minute volume out of this but seen as most of these are already very, very well known we’ll leave it as is.

The song that stuck out most is one some of my friends disgraced for being so old: Dum Dee Dum by Keys N Krates. This song has many layers of meaning for me and thus regardless of how old it may be I will always have a special place for it in my heart. Having just seen Keys N Krates with David and my new friend Jacob the previous weekend, reliving the magic of it performed live is something special. I think there’s a point where things shift from acquaintances to friends in every friendship and in my mind getting wild to this with Jacob is that point. Parliament Funk and PLUR Police by Knife Party are a couple more of the feel good vibes I received throughout the night. Knife Party has been a staple in my life, though I’m yet to see them live, and the way their music produces energy in me is incredible. I don’t listen to much Drake lately, not that I haven’t tried, I just don’t seem to enjoy his flow. However with the amount of times I’ve heard One Dance at clubs it really just embodies a feeling of letting go and being free within me. Alternatively I Feel It Coming has some lyrics that really fuck me up. I’m a fairly closed off person and the material in that track really can make me face that head on. There’s so many great tracks on The Weeknd’s newest album that I could literally list off most of them for inducing different emotions but I’ll leave it at two. The second being Secrets. Between the killer beat and amazing vocals on display this track has been on repeat all day. Alright. Time for some Eminem rapid fire. Just Lose It, Without Me, The Real Slim Shady, and Shake That all take me back to my teen angst days. Almost Famous, W.T.P., and Won’t Back Down got me right fired up, well as much as somebody who could pass out at any moment can get fired up. Cinderella Man and Lose Yourself created a feeling of hopefulness for the future and finally Rap God always reminds me of Conner. I guess that’s because he loved it from day one and I did not. I came around eventually though. Love you bud. Travis Scott’s goosebumps is my favorite chill beat since Antidote, another Travis Scott track. I can’t say I listen to much of his music outside of these two songs but both give me a nice mellow vibe. Speaking of mellow Imagine Dragons-Believer, though not necessarily a laid back beat, reminds me of all the times I used to smoke listening to Radioactive. Whenever I wanted to shut off the world Radioactive would be my go to. The majority of my smoking days are all but behind me yet whenever I hear Imagine Dragons I’m transported back to those high school days. Then there was my hangover music and who better to serenade away a headache than Justin Timberlake. My love for JT is mainly thanks to my older brother Justin who I actually called JT for a fair portion of my life. Why? Perhaps because I love them both equally. In all seriousness though Justin Timberlake was a cornerstone of my musical taste. My Love is still probably one of my favorite songs ever. Then there’s Like I Love You, Rock Your Body, Cry Me a River, and Señorita all off his Justified album that are classics. I wish I lived in a world where I could search ‘Justin’ on Spotify and have Timberlake be the top artist but alas, Bieber. Anyway that’s a look into how comforting music is for me, even when wasted my mind is constantly making connections. Not connections with my friends however, they could barely get two words out of me passed about 10pm. Life of the party over here.

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Professionally Offended

We live in an age where people are looking for any opportunity to be offended. Not actually offended of course, just fake offended. There’s two glaring examples of this as of late, one that you may have already heard of and one you most likely haven’t. I’ll start with the ladder. Colin Moriarty, formerly of Kinda Funny, posted this tweet on international women’s day.

Now there isn’t much to be said about the joke itself that hasn’t already been stated but I’ll throw my two cents in just for fun. First off, if you are truly offended by this I pray for you. I don’t know how you live your day to day life without shooting off to anyone who will listen about how offensive they are. I’ve heard and seen some truly heinous shit and this comes nowhere close. Or more likely, similar to those who so quickly ruined Colin’s reputation, you’re a keyboard warrior. Either way you should probably click away now as almost anything I write will undoubtedly be much, much worse. The fact is it’s a joke. Perhaps you don’t find it to be particularly humorous (I myself fall in this camp) or that it’s perhaps in bad taste. Both reasonable responses. However, to claim that this tweet truly offends you, causing you to lose sleep and take up your mind share I honestly can’t comprehend. The bubble you must live in.  Nonetheless this isn’t about the response from the general public as things are often blown completely out of proportion by people on the internet. What matters is how Kinda Funny handled this situation. A company which refers to it’s fans as best friends. Best friends disagree, that’s a fact of life. Something they don’t do is abandon each other when the going gets tough. Even I know this, someone who is a terrible friend at times. All Greg Miller (Kinda Funny CEO) and Tim Gettys (Kinda Funny co-founder) had to do is release a statement around the lines of “while I don’t find the tweet funny, calling Colin a sexist is ridiculous and won’t be tolerated by Kinda Funny.” Boom. Drama over. Instead Greg releases this.

He chose the almighty dollar and their company’s image over his best friend. So when Colin’s resignation was announced the following Monday there was no other way to interpret it than the lack of support from his friends led to his departure. Greg can claim it was Colin’s own choice all he wants, which it was, but the fact is his actions caused Colin to leave. In a world where the internet is lurking and waiting to jump on an opportunity to tear you apart, standing by your friends is all you have. And you failed Greg. They will come for your company again and what will you do then? There’s only four of you left now, will you go down to three at the next SJW outrage?

Moving on to something less near to my heart: Dave Chappelle’s Netflix comedy specials. I recently watched both shows and found them generally entertaining even if a few jokes fell flat. I watch many standup acts and really enjoy watching the different strategies for setting up a joke. Some of my favorites include Mike Birbiglia, Anthony Jeselnik, and Chris D’Elia. I feel it’s important to share those names because each one of them has pushed the envelope in their shows to little repercussions; especially Jeselnik. That guy is dark. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy dark humor I don’t recommend it but if you do definitely check out Thoughts and Prayers on Netflix; it’s hilarious. But anyway back to Chappelle. Not even a week post release of these specials people on the internet were losing their minds. “He said fag, he made light of rape” and so on. In everyday life this is obviously terrible vocabulary to use and I would understand the outrage to an extent. However this was during a comedy set. Comedy. The one medium where nothing is off limits. Nothing. If you don’t support that ideology I don’t think you understand the medium. It’s supposed to poke fun at the worst aspects of the human race, not to be a representation of everyday life. I’ll leave you with this last thought. Why is it Russell Peters can shit on Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Black, and White people with no repercussions yet Chappelle jokes about LGBTQ and everyone loses their minds. Is it possibly because we’re not fighting for Asian rights but we are currently fighting for LGBTQ rights? It’s a buzz word right now and when used the internet masses swarm. I’m all for equality but kindly keep your political correctness the fuck out of comedy. It doesn’t belong there and never will. You may think this is the wrong hill to die on, you may be correct. But it’s not going to stop me.

Where Ya At

Oh hey there, fancy seeing you here. It’s been a while but I’m back; back in black. Well actually I’m wearing blue right now… My disappearance from writing was by design, I’ve had some big changes lately and needed to choose both the timing and my words carefully. Yesterday was my last day at Starbucks. It’s bittersweet. I enjoyed my time there, I learned how to deal with people from all different walks of life, how to be a good leader (some might disagree), but more importantly found out more about myself than I ever expected to. The connections I made with our customers is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I had multiple people tell me how proud of me they are for pursuing my passions while business owners head hunted me for positions within their own company. I was shocked with the reception I received both when transferring stores and now when leaving. However, there were some glaring issues that couldn’t be ignored which led to my departure. The person they wanted me to be, and the person I am are two very different people. As I continued to pursue the next steps towards a promotion to assistant manager these gaps in values became more and more clear. As a younger fellow I watched my father pour his soul into a company which he successfully managed a branch of for the majority of his life, only to be pushed out during the tail end of his career there. He was a ‘for the people’ style manager, while they wanted a by the books, statistical, manager. He pushed back for a few years, insisting he was the same man who was praised for his success only a few years removed. Unfortunately, when head office gets an idea of what they (think they) need there is no changing their minds. During those last few years I witnessed him return home unhappy, stressed, and at a loss of what to do. He put up with that to provide for my mother, sister, and I. While I want to make it clear I was nowhere near to being in the same situation, witnessing this time of his life gave me a little foresight as to what I could expect if I continued on. Therefore I walked away. I think it’s a great company that does great work for their customers, employees, and communities, it’s just not for me; and that’s okay.

So you may be wondering what’s next, but unfortunately at this time I have nothing to share. I hate to say I’m doing this, this, and this when they are in the embryonic stages and then none of them pan out. For now my focus is going to be on nutrition, writing, and streaming. When there’s news I will be sure to share, but for now I’m taking a much needed break to clear my head and create a plan of attack. That’s all for now.

Icy Hot Patch

It finally happened. It was a normal Tuesday morning, I had the day off so I was obviously going in on some deadlifts. I showed up just after 11 feeling hyped up after finishing my home made salted caramel mocha protein shake/pre workout. Blasting some Rap God I completed my warm ups and began some light sets of 8. After about a month of sumo stance I decided it was time to go back to conventional. Everything was going great, my gym nemesis was making sure I took note of his lifts, another member was going in on some 450 pound leg press, it was shaping up to be a very motivating day. Three sets in my grip started to give so I took a break and grabbed my straps before setting up for a fourth set. As I attempted to explode through my second rep my back quivers and for a split second I considered stopping to reset; I should have listened. Instead I pushed through a third and that’s when I notice my back wasn’t feeling so hot. As I lowered the bar my whole left side grabbed and I nearly collapsed to the floor in pain, what the hell just happened? I could barely move at this point and as much as some water would be great I doubted my ability to walk across the gym. I then had a moment of pure stupidity followed by some clarity. I began to set up for a fifth set. Yes, after just realizing I couldn’t walk, I for some reason thought another set was a good idea. No pain, no gain right? Brilliant. Fortunately, I remembered how much rehab Gary has gone through to get back to his regular lifts after wrecking his back and I stumbled away from the bar. Unracking the bar was probably the most painful thing I’ve done since breaking my leg. I wish I could tell you I was attempting some ridiculous weight that I’ve never touched before but that’s not the case. It was 225. A weight I’ve been working with for over a month now. If I had to take a stab at what happened I would probably say I didn’t activate my abs properly but I really don’t know. So that’s how I first injured myself working out, almost three years in. It was bound to happen at some point. I was incredibly injury prone, probably due to my girlish figure, in competitive sports (separated my shoulder twice, broken wrist, split open knee, and aforementioned broken leg) and am slightly surprised that hasn’t followed me into this portion of my life. *Knock knock*. I can already hear my Mom saying “I told you you’d get hurt” but you can’t let fear hold you back. I’ll just have to be conscious of it and lift smarter going forward. But for now I’m taking (at least) a week off to rest up. When I do go back I’ll be focused on high rep, light weight work to ease myself back in. The powerlifting style training will have to wait.

Shut Up and Squat

Two days ago I was scheduled for 7 sets of 5 reps at 80% of my 1RM for squats. I went in after work (roughly 10:30pm) and was feeling surprisingly good considering I skipped last week due to volleyball. I stepped under the bar for my third warm up set, the bar felt light and my knees were tracking perfectly in line, not a common occurrence. So I decided to go a little off program, up the weight and lower the reps, knowing I still had a tough 10×3 day approaching later in the week. But I want to be able to squat 225 for reps before spring turns to summer and here in the Okanagan that line crosses over quite quickly so I knew it was time to take advantage of the situation. I hit 185 for 5 sets of 4 before belting up for a sixth but the fourth rep just wasn’t going to happen; I hit the breaking point. So I stripped 50 pounds off the bar and completed two sets of 135 for reps. Not at all what was planned but a good day nonetheless. I followed up with some lighter hypertrophy work as normally scheduled. This is the first time I’ve strayed off my programming for squats and I think it will honestly benefit me more than if I had just stuck with it. My percentages definitely are on point as there is still the odd day where I am unable to complete the necessary reps and will have to strip some weight. However, other than deadlifts, I rarely stack more weight on to take advantage of a higher RPE. The right programming is an incredibly important piece to making progress yet being held back by programming is not the point. Being able to adapt and take on a higher work load when my body feels good and capable is how I’m going to push through these plateaus I think I’ve hit. I just need to remember that goes for all my lifts and not just when I want to go beast mode on deadlifts.

I Won’t Support a Fake

In our culture it is common place to have someone who you aspire to be or even idolize. This can take many forms, fictional characters, movie stars, or pro athletes. As someone who aspires to work in the fitness industry some day I tend to spend many, many hours watching and learning from fitness personalities. Whether it be more on the informational side of things with guys like Silent Mike, Bart Kwan and Vitruvian Physique or more of the entertainment angle with the Buff Dudes, Bro Science aka Dom, or the Hodge twins I’m never lacking content to consume. With time, I ended up concentrating on two channels specifically; Bradley Martyn and Calum von Moger. Calum’s humor and authenticity really spoke to me, and the guy’s won multiple bodybuilding competitions so he obviously knows a thing or two. Brad had a way of motivating me unlike anyone else, and his appreciation for his fans was exactly what I like to see coming from an ‘internet celebrity’. That’s why it pains me so much to write this. But I won’t support a fake.

Recently Train To Look Good Naked, another YouTube fitness channel, posted a video telling the story of his personal experiences with Bradley. (If you want to hear any of the material I’m referencing please go watch the respective videos as I won’t go too far into them here) Now the number one rule to the internet is always delete your browser history, I mean don’t believe everything you hear on the internet. So I was skeptical at first of his recollection of the events, it’s only one side to the story and when you’re the one being slighted people can tend to over-exaggerate. Add the fact that his channel has done some questionable videos (by my standards) in the past and I wasn’t about to believe everything he claimed, though my interest was definitely peaked. It wasn’t until Calum began tweeting about the video that I was convinced something big had happened.

Calum and Brad later came out with an apology video explaining what had happened between them. In it Calum is visibly distraught and can barely piece his words together while Brad is choosing his words carefully and deflecting accusations or just straight up avoiding some. The video is posted on both their channels simultaneously and I figured that was that. Brad messed up, we all make mistakes, he was righting the ship and moving forward. Or so I thought. Not even 24 hours later Brad deletes his video. This enraged Calum and led to a follow up video where Calum goes into more of the details that Brad didn’t want him to mention in the initial apology. Long story short Brad interfered with Calum’s relationship by telling his girlfriend about a conversation they had in confidence. He then complained about Calum not bringing in as much traffic to their supplement company, Origin, that they had created together, while also going behind Calum’s back trying to work out a deal with their lawyers where Brad would own a percentage of Calum’s website. The site is separate from anything to do with Origin, his own personal website where he sells clothing, lifting gear, and programs. So Calum, the original creator of Origin, completely abandoned the company and walked. There’s much more including Brad’s lawyers threatening to sue Calum, his ex business partner and friend, but you get the basics of the situation.

There’s really no explanation for how I was feeling after learning all this. The best description I can give is just a big ball of anger, disappointment, and empathy for what Calum is going through, all mixed into one. As someone who has spit-balled multiple far-flung business ventures with friends this is my worst nightmare, a power tripping partner who not only ruins your business but destroys a friendship without thinking twice. If you are a fan of Brad’s like I was don’t take this as me trying to turn you against him. However you need to be aware of the truth and come to your own conclusion about whether or not you want to support him. Because if that’s how little he thinks of his friends think about how little he cares about you, one of his nearly one million subscribers. Just something to consider. And for the very few of you who made it through this post without even knowing who these two are I guess the moral of the story is cherish those who are true to who they are, and treat you with the respect you deserve. Whether it’s a personal relationship or someone you’re a fan of. It’s always going to be easier to fake it and not let anyone see the real you so value those who actively choose to be real. And for God’s sake delete your damn browser history. Seriously no one needs to see that shit.

You Better Work Bitch

Tomorrow is 10 x 3 bench day at 85% of my 1RM. With the big day looming just a few hours of sleep away my mind can’t help but ponder what tracks I’ll select to push me through to a PR. For myself music during these workouts is just as important as a good nights sleep and a system shocking pre-workout. On lighter days I don’t always consume pre-workout, nor do I hand pick my playlist. However, on days where I’m focused on being better than I’ve ever been before I find both to be necessities. The right songs can help me forget everyone around me, allow me to focus on my pre-lift checks, and motivate me through sticking points. When I first enter the gym I’ll play songs like Dum Dee Dum-Keys N Krates, Little Bit of This-GTA & Vince Staples, Collard Greens-ScHoolboy Q & Kendrick Lamar or even Work Bitch-Britney Spears. Yes, Britney Spears. All these songs in one way or another remind me to focus on myself and put the work in if you want to see the result, bitch. I’m usually through my stretches and am beginning to warm up with the specific movement for the day when I’m through with these tracks and it’s time to really get down to business. I’ll pull out some Centipede or Boss Mode by Knife Party or maybe Break Your Neck by GTA & Valentino Khan to really get the blood flowing. Next Contestant by Nickelback is a staple and easily one of my favorite tracks. Yeah I said it, I like Nickelback. Or at least this jealous boyfriend themed song anyway. If you know my taste in music you’d have to assume that my go to tracks for my lifts would be largely EDM tunes; and on days where I’m just letting shuffle dictate my pace you’d be right. But when I’m in charge I’ll go back to junior high and high school. Three Days Grace, KoRn, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach (well Last Resort) and Disturbed are all I listen to. There’s just something special about the way these bands transport me back to those days and invigorate me to best myself. Whether it’s Down With the Sickness, Animal I Have Become, Coming Undone, or any of the ear splitting Limp Bizkit tracks I can feel my teenage self getting ready for a lacrosse game and that sense of competition within myself is a great motivator. This PR is mine.