Update: I’m Awesome

January 24th, 2011

Whaddaya know – it IS like CrossFit! I was worried about nothing. Two puzzles down (I scaled down to the easy ones), the first in 14 minutes, then the second a new 10 minute PR. I am SO gonna tackle double-unders tomorrow morning.

Categories: Crossfit, Life Tags:

You know… that thing with gills.

January 24th, 2011

We’ll lead into this one with a small health update. Even though we’ve been hitting single digit temps and lower, my Raynaud’s is staying quiet. Granted, I’ve been as cautious as usual with the gloves and such, but I’ve noticed my fingers actually being quite cold at times without having the Raynaud’s kick in. I imagine some of the positive progression it is time, but I’ve also read here and there about how lifting weights, specifically squatting, works wonders on the central nervous system. And as my family at CFNH can tell you, squatting is one of the few things I don’t suck at :)

One side effect that still persists is my lingering brain issues. Specifically word recall. That’s actually what got me to fire up the blog and write this post. I got home and was looking in the fridge when I saw what appeared to be a package of salmon. My first thought was “Oh – salmon.” Then I realized that this assumption could be wrong, since it appeared to have some sort of rub or something on it. Being ever correct and proper, I thought “It might not be salmon, so I should say it’s the generic word for salmon to be safe.” And that was all I could come up with. The package either contained “salmon” or it contained “generic word for salmon.” After standing there for a minute or so, I thought to look at the package. It identified the contents as “tuna” and immediately the word “fish” finally popped into my head.

This is my life. This is why this blog is called “Lethological.”

The other day, I decided I was going to apply CrossFit philosophy to the problem. All this time, I’ve been doing a lot of sudoku puzzles. Sudoku puzzles are like squatting for my brain – I can just tear through those suckers. Then it finally occurred to me that one the chief tenets of CrossFit totally applied to this situation: if you want to get better, you have to do things that are uncomfortable. Sudoku puzzles are logic and my logic kicks some serious ass. What I need are some brain double-unders. What I need are crossword puzzles.

While I’ve done crosswords in the past (pre-cancer), I’ve never been a crossword fanatic. Of course, once my brain started misfiring, I made sure to avoid crosswords like they were hyperbole (which I avoid like the plague). So it was time to suck it up and start filling in little boxes with little letters. And for the first time, I understand the feeling a lot of beginning CrossFitters feel when they look at a WOD (workout of the day). I’ve never really feared any of the workouts we’ve done, though I’ve certainly dreaded my fair share. The distinction there is, I may dread having to go out in the snow to take out the trash, but I don’t fear it, since I’m relatively certain I won’t get eaten by a polar bear.

But now that I have my little book of crossword puzzles, I have yet to open it up. Why? Fear. Fear of what I’ll find. Fear of failure. Fear of discovering just how much is missing. Fear of what my brain’s become. I made sure to get a book that has a lot of easy puzzles to get me going, but in a way that makes it worse. What if I can’t even do an easy puzzle?

Hell with it. Grip it and rip it, right? 3, 2, 1, go.

Categories: Crossfit, Health, Rants Tags:

The Power of Negative Thinking

August 24th, 2010
Big Daddy Kane - Ain't No Half-Steppin'

I was putting together a big long post on the mental game in Crossfit and it really started rambling there after a bit. And if I think it was rambling, it would probably be incomprehensible to you guys. So instead, let’s focus right now on negative affirmations.

The important thing to remember at all times is the power your brain has over your body. I’d imagine it varies from person to person, but I know my brain can really mess me up physically. And not just by all of those “A Five Guys burger would be soooooo good right now” thoughts it keeps repeating. For instance, several times in the past when I’ve decided I really need to play hooky from work, I’d get myself sick. When you call your boss, you have to be sure you sound good and sick. I’d get so deep in the act, before I’d realize it I’d be really sick. And as we all know, nothing’s worse than being sick on a sick day.

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.
- Emo Phillips

Knowing this power my brain has beforehand has already proved astoundingly useful in my life. I’ve never been that good at all of that positive affirmation Stuart Smalley stuff. The closest I can get is by limiting my negative affirmations, which can be quite a task in itself. I even have a good concrete example right here of how this all works for me.

NOTE: If you’re one of my cancer homies, you can zone out ’cause I’m going to tell that story again.

So yeah, Crossfitters – I’m a cancer survivor. Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage IVB – about as advanced as that cancer can get at diagnosis time. Once I was diagnosed, I had one primary rule that I stuck to: I didn’t want to know any side effects of anything that was being given to me. Luckily, I had my wife Barb right there (wave to the crowd, honey), so she became the Holder of the Side Effects. You see, as much as you might want to, you can’t completely ignore your symptoms when you’re in chemo. You may think that your fever’s no big deal, but that might just be a precursor to something really bad happening from drug X.

So the way it worked was like this. We go in to see the doctor and he goes into what I’m going to get and what’s going to happen. The second half is where I tune out (let’s hear it for ADD!). He hands me the sheet with all of the side effects (“The ones in this column are normal. The ones in this column you call me about. The ones in this column, you race to the ER.”) and I hand it right to Barb. She kept them all in her notebook and when I felt something weird, I’d ask her about it.

“Honey? I feel kinda queasy and I can’t see the color orange anymore.” Barb would pull out her notebook, run through the lists. “Nope, those are normal.” “Okay, hand me that baseball.” “Those are oranges, honey.”

Not only did I have very few side effects and hardly any of the “bad” ones, I started playing roller hockey in the middle of the first chemo regimen while I was still working full time. That’s not to say that that first hockey game wasn’t worse than any WOD I’ve done so far, but it got easier. I only quit once they started talking stem cell transplant.

Granted, later on, even not knowing the side effects was enough to keep things from happening. Some of those chemo regimens can be quite draconian. But still, I didn’t seem to have as many problems as the rest of my cancer buddies did.

So what you can glean from that rambling is this. Did I ever say anything about thinking positively? About telling yourself you can do it? About how having hope in your head and a song in a heart will get you through anything. No, I didn’t. At least I don’t think I did. Who can remember? The key to this is, you don’t have to think positive. Just don’t think negative.

“Ugh. Fran is today.”

“I’m still sore from the last one.”

“Has it been twenty minutes yet?”

“Wait, we’re supposed to do how many reps?”

They don’t seem that negative on the surface, but this kind of thinking just eats away at your brain. As soon as you feel one of these thoughts bubble up, do whatever it takes to stuff it back down. Find something sparkly to look at. Ask yourself what you really expected to happen when you showed up at the box that morning. Or, if you’re really feeling like a mental badass, take a tip from the second fittest woman in the world, Annie Thorisdottir. She looked like a mental case about half the time, because here she is, pushing a wheelbarrow overflowing with sandbags, and she’s frickin’ smiling.

Kettlebells? Smiling. Double unders? Smiling. Handstand push ups? Frowning. Oh wait – she’s upside down. Smiling.

Why the hell is she smiling? Did she not read her Icelandic to American Pain Dictionary to understand that you’re not supposed to do that sort of thing. Maybe. According to her, it’s kind of like how you’re supposed to smile when you talk on the phone if you’re in customer service. Try it right now. Smile. Aside from feeling stupid, smiling at your computer for no reason (and looking a little goofy, I might add), did you feel how smiling changes your whole posture? It may be subtle – try it again. This time, with a flower pot on your head.

Sorry – after getting everyone to smile the first time I was a little overcome with my power. But can you feel what I mean? It’s just that little extra bit of oomph that could mean the difference between a clean box jump and a no rep. Or horribly scraped shins, a busted nose and a thrown out back if you exceedingly clumsy.

So that’s your assignment for tomorrow’s WOD. Do whatever it takes to quell the negative thoughts and try to smile during the WOD. Or, you can kill two birds with one stone – smile during the WOD and think about what the people around you are thinking when they see you smiling, you psycho.

Categories: Crossfit, Life Tags:

The First Rule of Crossfit: Don’t Compare It to Fight Club

August 22nd, 2010
Amos Lee - Long Line of Pain

Many people who get involved with Crossfit equate it on some level with Fight Club. It’s hard to blame them when you see the places they overlap. You’ve got a group of people meeting in out-of-the-way places, punishing their bodies over and over, rebuilding their bodies, their minds and their entire outlook on life. Not to mention the fact that the first few workouts, you’re going to feel like you were on the losing end of a lopsided fight.
Oh yeah, there’s more…

Theory of Crossfit Relativity

August 19th, 2010
Liam Lynch - Happy Song

First off, for my readers who don’t do Crossfit, 98% of this post will make no sense to you. Crossfitters and the brave non-Crossfitters, read on…

Aside from being a genius, many people often bring up the fact that Albert Einstein was a major proponent of Crossfit. Of course, in the finest tradition of what passes for journalism in 2010, “many people” means me. But rest assured, I have it on good authority (me again) that all of my facts are sound.

“Let the bodies hit the floor.” – Albert Einstein

The most notable of of Einstein’s accomplishments achieved during Crossfit (aside from his sub-2 minute Fran time – the man was an animal) was his Theory of Crossfit Relativity. From what I’ve uncovered in my Einstein/Crossfit research, the theory was developed during a workout much like the one we had today at CFNH:

4 minute AMRAP
3 Cleans, 115/75
6 CTB Pull ups

rest 3 minutes

4 minute AMRAP
3 SDHP, 115/75
6 Burpees

rest 5 minutes

4 minutes to get a max OHS

Einsetin noted that during the AMRAP phase four minutes appeared to slow down, lasting approximately ten minutes. Yet during the rest period, time was accelerated – three minutes actually lasted about one minute and five minutes around two and one half. The most intriguing finding was in the final part of the workout. His previous findings would seem to indicate the last four minutes would be, if not ten minutes long, at least substantially longer than the actual four minutes. Instead, time once again sped up. The final round of work was a subjective two minutes long.

After making a substantial sweat angel on the floor for one minute (ten minutes in real-time), he crawled over to his journal and wrote down the start of what would be his most famous equation: “E=mcowww” Or, in layman’s terms, “Energy equals mass times the speed of light raised to the power of how much I hate AMRAPs.”

Then, being a true Crossfitter and Man of Science, Einstein puked.

Categories: Crossfit Tags: , , ,

Dude, seriously…

March 12th, 2010

Categories: Life Tags:

But Dad…

March 8th, 2010
Phoebe the Horseface

I thought you said I was your bitch!

Categories: Life Tags:

In the Words of Tom Jones…

March 8th, 2010
Phoebe Sleeping

She's a Lady

Categories: Life Tags:

Technology and Catholicism

March 4th, 2010

First off, I suppose I should mention that the subject of this post is referring to two different subjects. I’m assuming most of you already surmised this since you already know about the Robo-Pope. Don’t give me that look. Why did you think every pope’s name ends with a version number?

Anyway, the first part of the subject refers to my new iPhone. Yes, I’ve finally given up my telephonic Luddite ways and shelled out some money to Jobs & Co. I’m not really anti-Apple as such, just more anti-AT&T. But my old phone really sucked and I was far enough along into my AT&T plan to where I no longer had to pay full price for one of these little black beauties.

Uh oh. Here come the hits from weird Google searches…

Anyway, the sole reason I bring all of that up is that I’m currently typing all of this on said iPhone. In true geek fashion, I’m doing this with my laptop open on my lap, forgoing its small keys for the iPhone’s miniscule ones. But don’t cry for me, Argentina – I needed to see how this works when I’m laptop-less and I have a nifty little stylus to type with since my fingers are like sausages.

Holy crap – I just published the post and it frickin’ worked! Ain’t technology grand?

Speaking of holy crap, now we get to me griping about Catholics. One moment while I switch to a more rant-friendly keyboard…

Oh yeah, there’s more…

I’m not doing it anymore

December 27th, 2009

That is, not doing the thing I was referencing in the last post, FIVE MONTHS AGO. Almost SIX. Oy vey.

The good news (sorta) is, I’m putting together a daily schedule for myself to try to get my life in order and under control and being electronically social is one of the things that’s going to have its own daily block of time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start answering emails now!

I’m Doing It Again.

July 9th, 2009
Birds & Traffic (the actual sounds, not some new indie group you haven't heard of, though I call dibs)

Now granted, I’ve had a hectic almost-two-weeks since getting back from the Georgian Business Trip and I’m currently sicker than a dog (since Phoebe is healthy, other than moping around because Mom & Dad are sick). However, I’m falling into the same old pattern. “I can’t do a post about this thing ’cause I haven’t done a post about that thing yet. And I haven’t gotten the site all together yet. And I haven’t beefed up the ukulele section yet. Or even TOLD people I’m playing it yet! OMG! OMG! OMG! Peeeeeeeee.”

Oh yeah, there’s more…

Oh, by the way – I’m a whore.

July 4th, 2009

If you happened to hover over or, God forbid, click on either the Matt Costa or TuneTech Tuner links in the previous posts, you will have noticed they take you over to Amazon. Selling out’s in the air this morning, and I figured, what the hell – it’s affiliate link time! I still stand by my stance that this sort of thing won’t creep over into CiMB (once I get it restarted), but while you’re in my brain, feel free to toss me a couple of coins. If you want. I might put one of those “Gimme Gimme Gimme Something From My Wish List” boxes too. And maybe a couple of “You know what, just send me money” links.

Or maybe I’ll feel dirty and take it all down.

The Upsides and Downsides to Apple Commercials

July 4th, 2009
Matt Costa - Mr. Pitiful

So I’m semi-watching 30 Rock on TiVo (I loooooves me some 30 Rock, but it’s a repeat, so 1/2 of my attention is on that and 1/2 on the laptop) when one of the latest iPhone commercials comes on.

Now, with Apple commercials nowadays, you know what to expect. If it’s a commercial about their computers, it’s going to be John Hodgeman and not-John-Hodgeman, and if it’s for their “personal electronics” it’ll be a closeup of the product, hands and fresh new perky music you probably haven’t heard before but will be hearing everywhere soon.

Oh yeah, there’s more…

Who says horoscopes are wrong?

July 3rd, 2009
WeTV in the background. Welcome home, Lethological.

It’s all looking potentially quite saucy for you now, as the planet of love, Venus, enters your sign just as the eclipse fires up your Intimacy Zone. If you know that you’ve lost the art of seduction, and you wish you hadn’t, this is your chance to go off and do something about it. Get in touch with your Inner Goddess – and if you think that sounds ridiculous, it’s not! The Goddess dwells in every female. Google “Venus Aphrodite” or “Lakshmi”. Bringing these Goddesses out in your spirit could actually change your life in wonderful ways you never dreamed of.WeTV.com

Who am I to argue with Lakshmi?

Another crazy morning. Literally. As in “insane.” Seriously.

June 26th, 2009
Cameron typing actual work in the background

This is the Tune Tech TT500 Backlit Clip Style Tuner which keeps my ukulele sounding so gloriously in tune:

Tune Tech TT500 Backlit Clip Style Tuner

Tune Tech TT500 Backlit Clip Style Tuner

It’s a relatively small device, no more than a couple of inches at its longest dimension. However, this small device has the full potential to destroy your morning.

This is our last day at the Home Office in Smyrna, GA. I woke up before my roommate and spent the time between then and when he finished his shower getting everything packed. I was all packed (except for my shower stuff) by the time he was done, so I had a leisurely morning ahead. I took my shower, got dressed, packed all of my toiletries and thought to myself “Oh yeah, last night I was going to make sure my tuner was packed with my electronics rather than with my ukulele (so there would be no reason to search the uke case at security).”

I checked the case – no tuner. Perfect. For once I did something when I thought about it, rather than waiting until the morning of, and I was proud of myself. Until…

It occurred to me that just that morning I had repacked my electronics bag to make everything fit right, and I couldn’t remember putting my tuner in there. You probably know where this is going.

I checked the electronics bag. The pocket that was in. The other backpack pockets. The pockets of all the pants I wore (since I couldn’t remember what I wore yesterday). I checked the electronics bag again. I checked the microwave. The refrigerator. The bathroom. All the drawers. I stripped the sheets off the bed. I found a way to pull the bed away from the wall. I took the pillowcases off the pillows. I completely emptied my backpack and all sub-bags inside it (including the electronics bag for the fourth or fifth time). At that point, I was 30 minutes behind schedule and I knew my ride and roommate had both been waiting downstairs for me that whole time. I resigned myself to the fact that either the tuner was lost, or it was in the one bag I didn’t check because I couldn’t imagine how I would have put it in there.

That’s right. I checked the microwave, but didn’t check one of my bags because it “didn’t seem likely.” I was so worked up and sweaty by that point, I had to bring that bag into work, since it’s where I put my few remaining clean clothes. As we’re walking down the hall, I suddenly picture the tuner. How last night I decided to put it in a brown plastic bag along with my fretboard stamp because “since it’s with my other ukulele stuff, I’ll know where it is.” I pictured me putting that bag in the small bag this morning as I thought “This brown bag only has my fretboard stamp, so I’ll put it in the checked luggage.”

I get to the conference room, pull out the top two layers of clothes (including a new shirt), and there’s the brown bag. With my fretboard stamp. And my ink pad. And my frickin’ tuner.

Son of a bitch.

Raindrops on Roses

June 24th, 2009
The Daily Show
A Few of My Favorite Things

A Few of My Favorite Things

The best part of a lousy day.

Categories: Life, Ukulele Tags: , , , , ,

And Another Thing (So to Speak)

June 20th, 2009
Dog Bites Man

Now there’s an Extenze commercial on and I’m thinking about placing an order. I’ve always wanted to be taller. Oh wait. Now that I’ve watched a little more of the commercial, I see I misunderstood the “size enhancement” claims. Good thing I didn’t place the order yet – my appendix is large enough. Unless they’re talking about some other “certain organ down there” that I’m not thinking of.

Oh yeah, and in hindsight, it probably would have been better to use “Georgia” in the title. Or maybe “Smyrna.” But I’m not a perfectionist, so it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m not going to stay up all night, tossing and turning, fighting to keep myself from going back and changing that title.

Because it’s morning.

Atlanta, Day Seven

June 20th, 2009
The Comedians of Comedy

Okay, technically, it’s morning seven. Unless your counting the actual hours, in which case it’s way to damn early to do the math.
Oh yeah, there’s more…

I’m 38 – I Need a Real Hat.

June 3rd, 2009
Speed Racer Theme - In My Brain

Today is Day 2 of my week off, so after my weekly visit with Dr. B, I decided to stop by DelMonico Hatter in New Haven to try on some hats. Barb is convinced that I don’t have a “hat head,” but I know she’s gotta be wrong. My head is gorgeous, right?

So after trying on every hat in the store (well, every straw hat, it being summer and all), I found two that didn’t make me look completely dorky. Barry at DelMonico was super-nice & took photos of me in each so I could run them by Sarge. I mean, Barb. The hats in the photos don’t look quite as good as they did when I looked in the mirror, but I think that was mostly due to me being self-conscious about how I should pose to best reflect the hats’ awesomeness.
Oh yeah, there’s more…

Here he comes, here comes Moondoggie…

June 2nd, 2009
MadTV on, well, the TV

We recently switched from DirecTV to the World of Comcast, and today’s On-Demand movie menu had Speed Racer on it.

First, I’d like to state for the record (as we know blogs on the internet are even more legally binding than being sworn in at a trial) that I’ve never smoked pot. I’ve been around people who have and, while I respect their choice, I can’t get past the smell of it. That said, this movie made me want two things: the biggest home theater in the world and a bong. As pretty and enjoyable as the movie was, I can’t help but feel I’m missing something being sober and watching it on a 32″ Sylvania. At the very least, maybe it would override my innate sense of physics that kept messing with the racing scenes.
Oh yeah, there’s more…