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Update: I’m Awesome

January 24th, 2011 No comments

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:

The Power of Negative Thinking

August 24th, 2010 No comments

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 No comments

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.
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Dude, seriously…

March 12th, 2010 No comments

Categories: Life Tags:

But Dad…

March 8th, 2010 No comments
Phoebe the Horseface

I thought you said I was your bitch!

Categories: Life Tags:

In the Words of Tom Jones…

March 8th, 2010 No comments
Phoebe Sleeping

She's a Lady

Categories: Life Tags:

I’m not doing it anymore

December 27th, 2009 No comments

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 No comments

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.”

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Oh, by the way – I’m a whore.

July 4th, 2009 No comments

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.

Who says horoscopes are wrong?

July 3rd, 2009 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments
A Few of My Favorite Things

A Few of My Favorite Things

The best part of a lousy day.

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

I’m 38 – I Need a Real Hat.

June 3rd, 2009 No comments

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.
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