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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Don't Idolize.... Emulate!

i·dol·ize
ˈīdlˌīz/
verb
  1. admire, revere, or love greatly or excessively.

    "he idolized his mother"

    synonyms:hero-worship, worshiprevereveneratedeifylionizeoverpraise
  2. em·u·late
    ˈemyəˌlāt/
    verb
    1. match or surpass (a person or achievement), typically by imitation.

      "lesser men trying to emulate his greatness"

      synonyms:imitatecopymirrorechofollow, model oneself on; More
      • imitate.

        "hers is not a hairstyle I wish to emulate"
      • COMPUTING
        reproduce the function or action of (a different computer, software system, etc.).

Good day to you Discovery Readers and Life Enhancers and Optimizers!

I am coming to you this day from the State of New Mexico but living in a State of Pain from the 2 missing discs in the L4 and L5 position of my lower back.

Perhaps the reason why I haven't been posting regularly for a while... 

Or at least it's an excuse.

And that's basically all it is - an excuse. 

It's been a while since I've been in this kind of pain - like since the Jan - March 2016 period when my left knee finally gave out on me.

Yeah - it's been a while... for a lot of things...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=araU0fZj6oQ

I am having to make some adjustments to deal with the stabbing pain in my lower back but as those that know me know -

Adapt, Modify and Overcome....

Is a Daily Tenet and Practice in My Life.

And as those same chosen few know -

I believe there is No Pleasure without Pain.

In fact, the Path to Greater Planes of Pleasure almost always pass through flat and desolate Plains of Pain!

How's that for a little Journey across the Terrains of Time and Space!!!

Anyway - enough of the personal bantering and bitching -

We got Days to Conquer, Love to Experience, Life to Live and Lessons to Learn and Apply...

So let's get this Beautiful Breast and Hard Nipple of a Post started and See what Happens!

"Don't Idolize... Emulate!" - what does that mean anyway?

Well - I listed a couple of definitions above to get us started on this discussion.

Here's the set-up for this concept.

I have had the pleasure of being associated with, working with and around, observing and getting to know Many People in my Life that were better than me at a lot of things.

I work out with this guy at Praxis - thepraxislab.com - who is literally a World-Class athlete having competed in the CrossFit Games with the likes of Rich Froenig - and even beating the then World Champion in an event.

And let me just say this guy is a Physical Specimen - he is Bad Ass AND Looks Bad Ass - which as you know is right up my alley - cause I'm all about looking good!

Anyway - this guy is known for having really good technique in ALL of the CrossFit movements - doesn't matter what you're talking about - Muscle-Ups, Handstand Walks, Snatches, Back Squats, Rowing, Toes to Bar, Double Unders....

Doesn't matter what it is - this guy is good at it and not only good at it - but does the movements correctly and efficiently and....

Makes it look easy.

And I hear people say - Yeah - he's a Natural Athlete, he's got good genetics, he's blah blah blah....

And yet I see the guy in there every day - Practicing these techniques with light weights, going through the motions over and over, putting in the time...

And then building up each movement to maximum weight and reps and doing it...

Over and Over again!

Doing that whole 10000 hours of Deliberate Practice that is deemed necessary in ALL difficult endeavors and vocations to become proficient at it.

Opinions differ widely on the need for the "10000 hours" but my experience has been that this is the right "order of magnitude" for becoming proficient at any difficult field or activity -


One of the quantitative measures I use to test this theory is the number of hours in a "standard work year" which is 2080 hours:

40 hours per week * 52 weeks per year = 2080 work hours per year

Multiply 2080 work hours per year X 5 years and you get....

10400 hours!

And it took me 4 years of training in college (which was way more than 2080 hours each year) and a year of practical, functional work in the field before I became a proficient Chemical Engineer.

So back to my proficient CrossFit athlete example.

I hear people say - Wow! That guy is Great.  I wish I could do this and that like that guy does.

And some people probably even put this guy on a pedestal and look at him like some Ebony Greek God...

Which is Ok I guess - but I have a different take on it.

I look at this guy and what he does and how he does it and I say -

Damn - this guy has a whole Work Process associated with his Exceptional Performance and Proficiency of Movement and Strength!

He dissects, studies, analyzes and breaks down every movement into many little movements and videos himself doing these movements and assesses and corrects and practices the nuances and the angles and the forces involved.

And does it every day for weeks and months and years....

Hmmmm.... Very interesting.

Moving on...

To another field and another example.

Art... or more importantly - the Creation of an Art Form.

Santa Fe is arguably one of the premier points of assimilation, creation and market for many different mediums of Art.

Painting, Sculpting, Clothes, Jewelry.

And I have been lucky and privileged enough to meet several members of this high society who are acclaimed Artists, Sculptors and Jewelers -

The Creators of Something Beautiful and Significant and Aesthetically Appealing and Moving....

From Nothing.

Except their Imagination and Skills as an Artist.

And you know me - being the Technician I am - as I get to know these Incredible Individuals - I start asking questions about -

What they do and...

How they do it.

And without exception, as they describe their Art Form, their Artful Vocation, their Talent and their Passion, the Revelation and Reality of their Art is that....

It is very technical in nature - they each have their own Work Process - their own detailed method of breaking down the Final Result and Outcome of Beauty and Artistic Value into....

Many different pieces and parts utilizing their own practiced and developed techniques and inspirations, examples and physical representations of the New Idea, Painting, Sculpture or other Art Form they are creating.

And they have spent a Lifetime perfecting it....

More than 10000 hours of deliberate practice! 

So what's the takeaway from all this?

I guess for me, it's something like less of a Shock and Awe type of response and more of a realization that if you want to do something well or be great at something or you see someone that does something you want to do or looks like you want to look like...

Realize they didn't get to that level of Activity, Performance or Proficiency Overnight or by Chance.

They Worked at it and they Worked at in an Organized, Progressive, Developing and Deliberate Way.

There is No Secret to their Success... There is no Deity to their Day!

Don't put them on a Pedestal! Don't look at them and simply Marvel and Worship!

Look at them and Study their Methods and Learn from their Approach and then try to Apply what You Observe and Learn to your own Pursuit of Excellence.

In other Words....

Don't Idolize.... Emulate!!!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Play that Paleo Song again Wills!

Happy Holidays out there Discovery people.

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is Great Food.

And as you all know, for me, Food is LOVE!

As I was telling a couple of good friends of mine in a text exchange earlier today, one of the best ways to Love Yourself and the Ones You Care Most about is to share Good Food with them!

So what is Good Food, to me??

Well - lemme show ya!

Ok. So it's been awhile since I've posted the results of a Paleo shopping trip and the prep for the meats and veggies I buy so here goes.

I got done with a wonderful Core Strength and More group exercise class run by Liz Prehm at Anytime Fitness on St Michaels in SFNM and had remembered a weekly Smith's ad on some T-bone steaks at $4.77 / lb and was feeling that need for maximum protein in the days ahead after the Body Busting Workout Liz put us through so I mosied over to the Smith's just down the Plaza from Anytime.

And what did I find?

Holy Mother of Mercy Cheap, Lean and Tasty Protein Batman!

Boneless Pork chops for $1.69 / lb.  That's 3.7# of Protein Goodness for $6.27!

Sign me up and call me Ready to Eat!


Aaah - there's the other Meat Lover's Delight in line with Carnivorous Intent!

$4.77 / lb T-Bones!


Wills - you Paleo MF'er - that's a Nice Cart!

Damn Straight - Practice what you Paleo Baby!


Whoa Whoa Whoa - that's not Paleo!

Hey Hey Hey - Fresh Breath and Dark Chocolate is important too!!


So enough bantering and bullshit - People taste my Meat and say - Hang on. That came out wrong.

Women taste my Meat and say..... Whoa there Wills - Wrong Post - You already wrote one on that subject...

Ok - People tastes what the Rock is Cooking and say - Damn that Steak tastes good!

How'd you do that?

Well - it's all in the preparation and the cooking method and it starts with the following:

Adolph's Seasoned Meat Tenderizer
Salt
Pepper
Mix of Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Allspice and Tarragon - all purchased from the bulk spice section of Sprout's.


Apply to the meat liberally in the order given above and then fork your meat.  There you go again Wills with the Sexual Innuendo.  

No - really - Fork the Meat - hard and a lot and on both sides (Ooh I like that!) - this does 2 things:

1. Drives all that good meat tenderizer and seasonings and spices down into the meat so it tenderizes and seasons the meat from the inside too.
2. Mechanically tenderizes the meat.


Here you can see the fork marks.... Ooh that's the way I like it - uh huh uh huh!

Sing it KC!

Oh my God, I used to love to watch Soul Train and the Solid Gold Dancers!  Remember that!!!

Damn - I miss Disco!!!




So  - insert a pic here of a pork chop I seasoned and tenderized a couple of days ago and this is the way I cook my meat.

Smoking hot cast iron skillet.

This is about a 3/4" thick pork chop -

Rule of thumb for a medium steak is 1 min per 1/4" of thickness to get it to medium which would be 3 minutes on each side BUT....

This is pork and I want it medium well so I put 4-1/2 mins on each side.

And mind you this is a cast iron skillet on high heat - you can see the smoke coming off the pan as this pork chop is cooking.

Why?

Because I want to sear all those great seasonings onto the outside of the steak which creates this incredible tasty crust AND seals the meat from the outside so that it remains juicy and tender on the inside.

Capiche???? OR

You get it???


So while the Pork chop is cooking - Back to the steaks prep.

I've seasoned and forked both sides of the T-bones and put them in a plastic Tupperware type dish and will put a lid on these and into the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours before cooking.

That meat tenderizer (which is basically dehydrated papaya - Yep - meat tenderizer is the enzyme from the papaya!) will break down the connective tissue in the meat and make it that much tenderer.

Tenderer? Is that a Word and do you Swipe Left or Right???

Stay on Track Wills!


Same thing goes with that 3.7# of boneless pork chops.

Geez - my biceps have grown an inch just thinking about eating all this wonderful Protein.

Oh yeah - you can work out till you blow yourself up and if you don't eat enough Protein (minimum of 1g per # of bodyweight for people working out with any kind of intensity at least 3 times a week and Yes - Ladies - this includes YOU!!!), you're not gonna make much progress.

Based on my experience, I would break down progress in physical fitness (however you define that - I define it as lean muscle mass, i.e. not skinny fat, but lean, attractive and noticeable and notable muscle mass) being attributed to the following with the follow percentages:
  • Diet and Nutrition - 60%
  • Workout Program, Intensity, Duration and Frequency - 15%
  • Rest and Recuperation -  Proper Sleep - 15%
  • Stress Management, Schedule Control, Life Prioritization and Planning - 10%
Yep - What You Eat is the Majority Factor in Physical Fitness!


Nice!!!


Package and Refrigerate!


Back to cooking the Pork Chop.

Flip that Mutha and give it another 4-1/2 mins.

And NO! It's not burnt - that's the level of blackening you want of those wonderful spices on the outside!


So now, most importantly, let that pork chop rest at least 5 mins to finish cooking.

DO NOT CUT the meat until it has rested!

If you do, all that wonderful juice you have tried to keep in the meat will run out on the cutting board or plate.

So, in that 5 min resting period for the meat, let's get the vegetable and fruit medley going.

Red Bell Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, Carrot Sticks will go in first because they take longer to cook!  

Zucchini will go next and then some cubed up fresh pineapple.

All the veggies are seasoned with Salt and Pepper and that wonderful Moroccan spice mix and the fresh cubed pineapple with Cinnamon before cooking.


3 mins on the pepps and carrots, then in goes the zucchini with a minute on each side of the slices.

Out they come and into a tupperware container where they are hit with a drizzle of balsamic and EVOO.

Then put a grill on the pineapple cubes.

Then throw everything back together in the skillet with some pre-cooked Basmati rice!


And there's the finished product garnished with fresh blueberries, almonds and fresh julienned basil and a dollop of sour cream in the middle.

Look at that pork chop - perfect medium well.

You can tear the meat with a fork!


And what goes better with a meal like that than fresh flowers.

From Smith's - "New Year's Shimmer"!!!


Why?

Cause that's the Way Wills Rolls!

Happy Holiday and Healthy and Delicious Eating Everyone!

From Discovery....

To YOU!!!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Be the Spark that Lights Another's Flame

This is gonna be a fun and different post.

Fun because it's an Optimistic and Positive type of Post as opposed to more Dark and Introspective.

And I'm gonna line this one up a little differently.  I'm gonna put the Cart before the Horse by giving you the Post Outline or Talking Points FIRST:
  • Changed the title from ".... Lights Another's Fire" to ".... Lights Another's Flame" - Why?
  • Compare or Discuss Past Experiences with "Being a Catalyst" vs "Being a Spark".
  • Discuss the Different Areas / Situations of Experience where "Being a Spark" applied.
  • Challenge or Entice People to Engage or Reveal themselves by "Throwing a Grenade in the Room" vs "Striking a Spark".
  • Just because there's a Spark don't mean there's a Flame!
That oughta be enough to get started.  There I go revealing my Creative Writing techniques - OMG - an Outline?  Wills - I'm shocked - How dare you use basic Old School Writing Techniques and Procedures!

I know  - I know - How Gangsta of Me!

Rip this Script Wills and let the Dogs of Words loose!  

Ok - that didn't come out as Cool as it seemed in my Mind....

So originally - in the Selected Reader Selection Process where 11 readers selected their favorite "Hook" blog post titles or ideas from a list of 24, I had this post titled....

"Be the Spark that lights Another's Fire"

And, as I am apt to do - I thought about that.

What does it mean to Light a "Fire"?

Well - first of all the concept of "Fire" can be somewhat intimidating because "Fire" can have negative connotations like....

Holy Shit - there's a "Fire" - Get Out and Get Away and Run for your Lives!!!!

Fire can imply a Blaze or something that's Out of Control AND that Consumes and Destroys or at least can be Unmanageable and is often a result of Too Much Fuel or Too Much Stimulus or Too Much INFORMATION - Oh My Wills - You mean TMI or WMI???

Yeah - Yeah - Yeah - You get the Picture.

Whereas a Flame especially if it is the very first Manifestation or Result of a Spark or an Ember has its own unique Qualities and Characteristics.

It is Simple, Subtle, Basic and must be Protected and Nurtured from the Elements and Outside Influences - think Cupped Hands.

It is Personal and Particular to the Person and Persons involved with its Initiation and Receipt.

It is a Potential for or Beginning of a Fire but it is just a Flame.

Also - in another line of thinking - a Flame (think of a Stove top or Gas Burner) can be a Tool that is used as a Means to an End - like cooking a Meal - which for me, in and of itself, requires some thought, preparation and is nourishment to the Mind, Body and Spirit and is one of the ultimate expressions of....

Love.

A Blazing Fire is great when you're out in the Cold and the Wild but think about the effect when you are shivering, hands numb and shaking and you strike that match to a Tinder (No - Not the Swiping Tinder!) bundle and you see that first lick of Flame....

That's a whole different kind of Comfort that extends beyond Cold Hands and perhaps to a Cold Heart!

It's kind of Primal.

I strike Sparks all the Time in Conversations, Discussions and in Actions.

The Simplest Kind of Spark is a Genuine and Heartfelt Smile to a Stranger.

You would be Amazed at the Reactions I get at a grocery store or Walmart when your eye catches the eye of another person and you throw them a No Holds Barred Smile.

I gotta reveal something personal to you - People used to make fun of my Smile because my Mouth is so big and wide.

People called it a Joker Smile - from Batman Villain fame.

And I used to be self-conscious about it.  Yeah - we all have our little challenges.

It's funny - you change venues, lose a little weight, age a little bit, get a different attitude about life and all of a sudden....

You have a nice smile.

Maybe coming to Santa Fe from a life on the Gulf Coast of Texas was my Spark.

Anyway - back to the Smile at the Stranger at the Store.

I do this all the Time... most of the time it's spontaneous and sometimes it's calculated.

Regardless of the intent or extent, I would say 90% of the time my Joker Smile is received with an instantaneous comprehension of the Good Wills sent with it.....

And it is returned in Kind... and in Kindness.

Cause you see - that's the thing about a Spark.... sometimes it Back Fires on You but more often -

It Fires Back at You!

It comes back at You in a Good Way.  There's that Karma thing again.

Spark makes the Flame and Flame makes the Fire and Fire sucks in Oxygen and Life and feeds the Fire.

Kinda Weird and Cool...

Or Hot - all at the same time.

And like I said earlier, sometimes the Spark is a Conversation about God knows What....

Paleo Diet, Working Out, Knee Replacement, Music, Dancing, Life, Love, Sex, Clothes, Style, Lifestyle, Global Warming, God, other Higher Being, AstroGlide....

And something I say or something I do has an effect....

Plant a Seed
Strike a Spark
That Another
Reacts to
Responds to
Is revolted by
Is jolted by.

I used to call myself a Catalyst - a technical or chemistry term - for a component that initiates a reaction but doesn't become involved in the reaction itself.

That self-analysis and environmental action concept has not been well received by those I have extended it to in most cases maybe because it connotates or describes a situation where I am not physically or emotionally invested or affected.

I guess, in this case, I would take my Son's perspective and say "Fuck Intent - I'm Outcome Driven" (incidentally and ironically #7 on the Selected Reader Selection List of Discovery Blog topics), in the Sense that, it's NOThing about me and ALL about the other person and the effect on them - hopefully positive.

That's my Intent and hopefully the other person's Outcome.  There ya go Aaron - there's some content for your post!

I remember I was talking to a lady during a lunch break on a hike about 9 months ago.  I was eating one of my Paleo meals I had prepared that morning - Cast iron skillet grilled meat, veggies, fruit with some fresh basil, blueberries and almonds on the top with my special Curry Powder - Garam Masala - Allspice seasoning mix used in the cooking of it....

And I shared some with her.

"Oh that's so delicious. I'm gonna try cooking and eating like that".

Fast forward 6 months - and I see this lady again - and My God - she's like a lot less Woman than she used to be.

She comes up to me and says "Thank you so much for introducing me to the Paleo Diet.  I've been on it for 6 months and lost 25 lbs and feel better now than I ever have.  I would never have known about it if you wouldn't have shared your knowledge and practice of the Paleo diet and your meal with me."

What can I say?

Out goes a Spark - Back comes a Fire!

Sometimes you don't even know it - and it depends on the Individual that is recipient of the Spark what they do with it.

Maybe a Spark is a Good Deed or a Kind Word or some show of Support to a Friend in Need or a Stranger Indeed.

Like taking a Pot of Homemade Chicken Soup to a Sick Friend.

Holding a Woman you just met close to You on a Slow Dance and providing a Moment of Close Comfort in a Day or Life of Desertion.

Standing on the Top of a Mountain and raising your Arms over your head in Victory and shouting...
"Yo - Adrian - I did it" in your best Rocky impersonation while your hiking buddies just stand back and shake their head.

Maybe it's Dancing at the front of the dance floor by the band in your own little world concerned less with what People may think and more about losing yourself or finding yourself in the Music.

Taking a Friend to the Doctor, not because they need a ride, but just because you truly care about them.

Helping an Old Person to a table and into their chair.

Standing when your Lady leaves or comes back to the table.

Saying "Yes Ma'am and No Sir".

Treating People with Respect even when they Piss You Off.

Working out with Someone or introducing Someone to a Group Exercise Class when they want to start or resume an Exercise Program but just need a little help getting started.

Showing an Empty or Damaged Heart that Love never Dies.

Listening.

Walking the Talk even when you're tired of Walking.

And People who actually Know Me, which is a very small group, know I sometimes Strike a Spark in a Powder Magazine, i.e. "throw a grenade in the room" just to see how people will react or what they will say to the spark or topic presented.

"Fire for Effect" is a way of forcing people to assess where they are or what they stand for in Life's Fire.

Yeah - Sometimes a Spark is a Challenge.

"Get up off your ass - Quit feeling sorry for yourself - You've got One Life to Live - One Day at a Time - So Don't Waste a Day or a Minute!"

Let's go Dancing - Let's go have a Drink - Let's go Workout - Let's go Hiking - What do you think about this? - God, you're so Beautiful - Dude, You've Put on some Muscle. Well Done - How's your new job going?

Hell - just remembering someone's name from a first meeting a month ago and greeting them with...

"Hey ______, how are you?"

Yeah - remembering the name of a Stranger is a Spark.

Ramble - Ramble - Ramble.....

You done yet Wills?

I guess "Be the Spark" is kinda like being Johnny Appleseed.

Throw those sparks or seeds out as you go and just hope they grow!

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13&version=NLT

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Hmmm....

Come to think of it - maybe it's less about the Spark and more about where the Spark lands.

Ok - I give, I'm done and actually a little cold SO...

Go ahead and throw a Spark my way and...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdgUn-0DDFs