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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Keeping a Clear View of Yourself

Another one of those phrases that means little without context.... or unless you were there.

In a Group Exercise Class at Anytime Fitness in Santa Fe NM this morning.  It was actually a "Dance and Stretch" class which I can only describe best as a combination of Yoga, extreme range stretching and "body release" and fluidity movements that relieve stress in hips, back, shoulders and neck.

As in nearly all Group Exercise Classes that are not totally jam packed, each person picks their "favorite" spot.

And my favorite spot is at the front of the class just to the right of the instructor, where I ended up this morning.

There's also an unwritten rule of etiquette in group exercise classes.

You don't line up directly with the person or persons behind you.  You or the person behind you sidestep / move their mat just enough to give the person behind a clear view of themself in the mirror.

I did that this morning and the instructor asked what I was doing and I replied....

"I'm just making sure the person behind me can get a clear view of themself."

Several people in the class immediately exclaimed at the literal and philosophical implications of the statement and the lady next to me that reads my blog said "Looks like you have another blog post".

To which I replied "I am already writing the post in my mind".

And now I am putting the thought to paper..... errr to the ethernet.

The double entendre of the statement is pretty obvious but I'll state it anyway.

We all want people in our life, some of  more importance and significance than others.

The problem exists when we let those people get between us and the person in the mirror....

Then all we see is the other person and we lose sight of ourselves.

Put that in your Pipe and Smoke it!

Living a Good Life is the Best Revenge

No matter who you are, where you come from or how old you are, you have probably had your own Life Challenges..... some more than others.

I know I've faced a lot of my own and can say from experience, the tendency is to just accept the negative effects, self-destructive attitudes and built-in disadvantages that those historical handicaps put in our path.

I know people who have turned their childhood challenges into a Life of Hell.

They simply refuse to accept that they are responsible for their own happiness... that they have to make the changes necessary to overcome their past.

Let me suggest an alternate path.... a path of Self-Realization, Self-Truth, Self-Awareness and Self-Improvement.

Sound like a bunch of shrink mumbo jumbo?

Maybe..... Maybe not.

Let me ask you something.

Is there anything you don't like about yourself?

That you would like to work on..... to make you and your Life better.

Unless you're God, the answer is probably Yes.... or multiple Yes's.

How do you "fix" those things or at least affect positive change?

It's pretty much the same steps to complete any task:

  • Realize or Recognize that there is an issue in the first place.  ID / Name the Problem or Issue. Name it so you can Tame it.
  • Plan your Victory.  Make a plan of action to address the issue.  This may involve Research of the Subject Matter, Consultations with Individuals more familiar with the problem than you are, Identifying the steps or chronology that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.  Fail to Plan and you will Plan to Fail.
  • Take Action - Put the Plan in Place.  Monitor cause / effect whether the issue is mental, physical, emotional, relational, vocational, etc.  Find the stimuli that trigger the negative responses or effects and zero in on the solutions like a heat seeking missile to a flame.  Do Something even if it's Wrong.... Stasis and Inertia are the Killers of Progress and Change.
  • Track Your Progress and Make Adjustments.  Become a Student of how your Mind, Body and Soul react to different foods, thoughts, actions / exercise and interactions.  Be careful.... You might actually get to know yourself and what makes you tick and that would be.....  Yeah that would be progress.
So the bottom line is that Life handed You a Lemon.

And you're making yourself and everybody around you miserable because of it.

Try turning your life around through some simple progressive steps.

Anybody can bitch about their life's problems.

It takes an Effort to do something about it.

Because in the end analysis, the Rest of The World really doesn't give a shit if your Daddy beat you or you grew up Poor and Hungry or in a War Zone or was a victim of ........ You name it.

You wanna get back at the World?  

You wanna stand on the top of a mountain and throw 2 middle fingers up at the World and Shout "F*ck You!" 

You want to exact some comeuppance on the World?

Living a good Life is the Best Revenge!

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Body is Bent and Broken but the Facade is Alive and Well

It is a theme I have been putting into practice on a daily basis for at least 2 years now.

Despite the challenge of a 30 year downhill journey on an arthritic left knee and 3 acute injuries in the past 18 months, I have refused to go belly up - dead bug.

I have continued to work around and through a left knee with little or no cartilage, a torn pectineus (groin) muscle that was so badly detached that the doctors thought it was an inguinal hernia, a 40% detached left Achilles tendon that 2 orthopedic surgeons swore would require surgery to repair and removal of a 1-1/2" long 3/8" diameter bone spur from my left knee.

In retrospect, the groin tear and the Achilles tendon injury could have been avoided.... the left knee issues not so much.

Regardless, it is a path I have chosen in life - to be active, to be as fit and healthy as possible and to....

Look Good.

Yep - that's important to me.

Some people would say.... "I really don't care what I look like.  That's just not important to me".

To which I would say "That's Bullshit.  Every sane and normal person wants to look good.  They're just not willing to put in the work and exercise the self discipline to do it so they swear it off by saying the don't care".

And then there's those people that say "Yeah I wanna look good.... I just don't have time".

To which I again say "Bullshit - I have been writing for several years now and have demonstrated in countless pictures and commentary that the single most important element of having a lean, muscular, fit physique is WHAT YOU EAT!"

And I have also demonstrated repeatedly that it takes less than 45 mins a day to prepare 3 different, nutritious, body building and lean meals that are pleasing to the body and palate.

And then there's the "Yeah but just meat and veggies and fruit doesn't taste that good."

To which I say a 3rd time - "Bullshit - I have fed all the food that I have put on this blog over the years to at least 100 - 150 different people from my daughter's high school friends to my son's hunting buddies to finicky vegans and socialites from Texas to California to New York to the mixing pot of race, culture and culinary variety represented by my Santa Fe hiking group and every one of them went back for seconds and thirds with expressions like "I never liked meat before but I love this steak.... .and this is eggplant and how did you prep these vegetables - they're fantastic! .... or you didn't use any oil in this - it's healthy but tastes great".

Ok - here's one more for the Excuse Column.... Eating Healthy Costs Too Much!

Again - Einstein - Bullshit.  I've tracked my grocery budget for many years including "Pre-Healthy Eating" and "Post-Healthy Eating" and given the 2.5 - 3.0% annual inflation factor, my grocery budget HAS NOT INCREASED.  Believe it or not, all the "ready made" and processed foods you find on the "inside aisles" at the grocery stores kill not only you but your budget too.  While I am not 100% organic or grass fed or whatever, I would say I am at least 60% organic and do buy the best and freshest vegetables and meats I can afford.

So - What's the excuse now?

But I digress.... this is a post about maintaining an appearance of looking good and being Alive and Well....

Even if you don't feel that way!

My 3 favorite quotes on this subject are:
  • "It's better to look good than to feel good" - Fernando Llamas
  • "I'd rather look fit than be fit" - Mark Sisson
  • "Live Hard, Die Young and Leave a Pretty Corpse" - James Dean
I think maintaining appearances in the face of challenging health situations is important for several reasons:
  • It often brings you positive feedback which in and of itself, can boost your morale and make you feel better.
  • "Fake it to Make it" is an oft-used adage that has verifiable and repeated good results in the field of Self Healing.  Maintain healthy eating habits, get a little sun, get your hair highlighted, buy some new clothes, maintain physical activity as much as you can, Encourage someone when you yourself need encouragement, Smile when you wanna cry! This kind of positive representation of yourself to the World will come back to you in ways that will nourish and heal the Mind, Spirit and Body!
  • Maybe just Maybe, your unwillingness to succumb to Life's Health Challenges may inspire and motivate someone else to do the same.  Passing Your Energy, Positive Outlook and Willingness to experience a little Pain and Discomfort in exchange for Maintaining Your Appearance may seem ego driven but could be the most selfless thing you ever do and the best example you could ever provide to your friends and family.
People in my PIYO and other Group Exercise classes know that I am experiencing some pretty significant left knee pain in my workouts.  

If my limping between movements, grimaces and grunts are not evidence enough, the loud and audible popping and grinding of my left knee, that can be heard by many around me, is proof enough.

But they also know that it is important to me to maintain as much strength and muscle in my left leg as possible - to maintain my mobility, to prepare for my upcoming Total Knee Replacement Surgery, and....

To Look Good.

Yeah.... The Body is Bent and Broken....

But the Mind and the Spirit that Drive that Body are Alive and Well!

Cooking and Eating Your Ass Off - Literally!

Everybody carries extra weight in different places but the majority of people, especially women, who want to lose weight typically want to lose weight....

In their butt.

And believe it or not, you can lose your ass pretty easy!

No - not just in the stock market but by....

Eating mass quantities of food - make that Mass Quantities of the Right Kind of Food.

Are you a big eater?  Do you like to feel full when you eat?  Has your last few failed attempts at dieting left you going to bed with a growling, empty stomach?

Well, let me suggest an alternative and let me do it with the following series of pictures depicting  ingredients and prep for today's meal and the healthy foundation for many meals to come.

First, you want to maintain as much of the nutrients in the food you are cooking as possible.

And to me that means a cooking technique that is hot and fast and leaves most of the natural texture and color of the food, in this case veggies, intact.

For me, a hot cast iron skillet and dutch oven are perfect for this.

So let's start with a diced sweet onion and several spears of asparagus on the left and a poblano pepper on the right - all seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, garam masala, turmeric and allspice.

Here's the rest of a meal that is based on lots of different tastes, colors and textures and will be prepared both cooked and raw:

Red Onion
Yellow Squash
2 slices of TJ's Peppered Uncured Turkey Bacon
1 link of TJ"s Sweet Basil Chicken and Turkey Sausage diced.

Here's how I prepared the above:
  • I pan grilled a thick slice of the pineapple and 2 slices of cantaloupe seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper.
  • That and the sauted onions, pepper, eggplant, asparagus, squash and diced sausage are in the bottom right container.
  • I took the rest of the pineapple and cantaloupe and small cubed that up and diced a ripe banana and fine diced 1/2 red onion and one of the slices of cooked poblano and a healthy handful of basil and cilantro and then coated that mix with a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar and EVOO and the juice of half a lime and dusted with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and mixed it up well.  That's the mix in the container on the top right.
  • I made a nice salad with spring mix and arugula and diced tomato with balsamic, EVOO, S and P.
  • This entire quantity of food was prep'd in less than 20 minutes and the veggies and fruit salsa will be complementing several protein additions to meals this week.

Here's a huge portion of the 3 combined elements along with about 20 oz of a Fruit Punch Creatine and Chocolate Protein Mix to wash it down.

That's a beautiful variety of salty and sweet - veggies, fruit and proteins - with at least 80g of protein and less than 700 calories that will leave you feeling full, satisfied but still alert.

Yep - No food hangover from this enormous quantity of food!

Why you ask?

Because it contains no simple carbs - No gluten, grains, rice, potatoes, pasta, legumes or processed foods.

No hyper insulin response to counter high blood sugar from this meal.

So sit your ass down and Gorge on this Wonderful and Nutritious Meal.

Repeat this type of eating for 21 days and you will be....

Sitting down on a Lot Less Ass!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Another Random Weekly Walk through the Land of Discovery

Have been gravitating toward jotting down a few thoughts and experiences during the week and then relating those in a single post format.

And this is another one of those.

So here's the topics for this weekly think-fest:
  • Do you really think it matters who is President?
  • Don't blame Obama for high health insurance costs.
  • Find the Right Asshole.
  • Last Dance Last Chance for the Left Knee.
  • Fat is your Friend. Simple Carbs / Sugar is your Enemy.
  • Live like a Viking.
Do you really think it matters who is President?

It's amazing to me how excited, animated and engaged people get over politics especially current Presidents and Presidential candidates.  Based on what I have seen, experienced and have deduced based upon watching this nation's and the world's ups and downs, ins and outs and machinations and manipulations, for most of my adult life, which amounts to about 35 years, it really doesn't matter a hill of beans who is President other than it's somewhat embarrassing on the World Stage when the US President is an idiot. 

I won't name names but you can probably think of a few that fit that bill over the past 35 years.

And the reason why it really doesn't matter who is President is because the President really doesn't have any power.

In case you don't know it, the World is run by a relatively small group of individuals / families who control the World and World events like a puppet on a string.  Ever wonder why the War on Terror never gets won?  It has less to do with religion and the history of racial hatred and wars and more about sustaining those conflicts for the purpose of the Arms and Defense and High Tech Industries that support conflict of any kind.

Same thing with the US Food, Drug and Medical Industries.  Big Food pays off the government to promote a recommended Diet and Nutrition Plan that guarantees a Fat and Unhealthy population.  Doctors are set up to prescribe more Drugs to treat the results of a population consuming an unhealthy diet.  It's a Vicious Money Making Cycle.

And don't even get me started with the Banking, Finance and Insurance industries and the Currency and Financial Manipulations of World Asset Markets that have gone on for the last 35 years and transferred most of the World's Wealth to the hands of those in control of the Engineered Market Swings and Crashes.
The reason there is no Middle Class is because they have been reduced to the Lower Class through the raping of their 401k's.  

Do you really think the President has any control over any of these industries or the money that backs them?

Wake up and smell the money.

Don't blame Obama for the High Health Insurance costs.

Geez - based on the way people talk about Obama, you'd think he was personally responsible for every negative major world event that's happened over the last 8 years including the High Cost of Health Insurance.

Let me ask you a simple question.

Why are Health Insurance Premiums so high?

Let me help you.

The simple answer is because people are using their health insurance more by going to the doctor because they are sick more or they are having procedures to correct health issues, etc.

Let me ask you another simple question.

Why are people using their health insurance more now than they were 20 years ago?  Hint:  You're not going to like the answer.

The reason why people are using their health insurance now more than ever is because more people are fatter now than ever before.

If 90% of the US Population was within 10 lbs of their ideal body weight, health insurance premiums would decrease by 50% in less than 3 years.

And why are so many people so fat?

Because they eat too many simple carbs - gluten containing food, grains, breads, pasta, rice, beans, legumes and too many processed foods and not enough protein, good fats and complex carbs in the form of fresh veggies.

More on this later in this post.

Find the Right Asshole.

A potentially controversial and somewhat comical statement without context.

So let me provide some context.

I had a conversation with someone the other day who is between relationships and I suggested that a new job / workplace they were engaged in might provide some new and better prospects for a future relationship.
The person's response was "No. I'm not interested in anybody there.  They're all a bunch of assholes."

I related this little experience in conversation with another individual and they came back with one of those totally spontaneous, uniquely original but equally meaningful life axioms.....

"Hell - Everybody is an Asshole.  The trick is to find the Right Asshole for you." 

I am still laughing about the absolute, simple and totally comical truth of this.

Last Dance.... Last Chance.... for the Left Knee.

I went out Friday night and listened to a couple of bands hoping to get in some dancing on what will be my last weekend in Santa Fe for a while.  But the music the bands played wasn't to my liking and I finally gave up and limped back to my car without much to do about dancing.

Last night, my favorite local Classic Rock band, the John Kurzweg band, was playing at a local restaurant / bar, Cowgirl's, so I decided to try again.  I got there about 8:50 pm and the band was already playing and to make a long story short, I danced my ass off or more literally, I danced to where I couldn't walk any more. 

I figured this was the Last Chance for a Last Dance on the Left Knee that God gave me and I was going to make the most of it.

Right around midnight, I limped / dragged the left leg on the short walk back to the car, got back to the house and dragged the leg upstairs and into bed where I tossed and turned for 2 hours from the knee pain and woke up this morning with a knee so tender that I was doing dips on the stair railing just to get downstairs but by God I enjoyed my....

Last Dance!

Fat is your Friend.  Simple Carbs / Sugar is your Enemy.

I've been talking about this for several years now but have really been stepping up on the soapbox more lately about this topic.

Here's the short and not so sweet story.

Everything the government, FDA, medical industry, food industry and all the "experts" at the gym are telling you about "Low Fat" diets is....


Securing at least 50% of your daily calories from "good fats" like pure butter, animal fat, meats, eggs, nuts (not peanuts), healthy oils like coconut and olive oil is the secret to losing weight. 

The main reason is that these foods DO NOT trigger a high insulin response to correct a high blood sugar condition like you get with simple carbs such as grains, breads, pastas, rice, potato, beans and legumes and processed foods that are laden with sugar.

Cut out the simple carb / sugar containing processed foods and focus on proteins, fats and complex carbs from dark, leafy vegetables and other veggies like broccoli, asparagus, peppers, onions, squash, zucchini, etc. and you will lose weight and regain the body appearance and composition of high school AT ANY AGE.

The Paleo diet is the definition of this kind of nutritional profile -

Live like a Viking.

The History Channel Series "Vikings", now in its 4th season, is my new favorite TV series.

Not only is the series and individual episodes incredibly well done from a character development, scene / location variety and cinematic grandeur perspective, but it roughly follows the history of the Viking culture and the World events of that day and time.

Watching the series and doing periodic Googles on different characters and events from the series has led me to appreciate the characteristics, culture and lifestyle of the Vikings.

Here are few of my takeaways from the "Vikings" that could be applied for success in the modern day world:
  • Despite the depiction of hedonistic and adulterous activities in several episodes, the central theme of Vikings culture is devotion to and respect of the family unit, especially love for the children.
  • A "Free" woman in Viking society actually had more rights and garnered more respect than most modern day women.  Many female Vikings were "Shield Maidens", where they fought side by side with the men in vicious combat.  They also could divorce their husbands for marriage compromise events such as adultery.  They could also hold the same high societal / governmental ranks as their male counterparts such as being Earls or Queens over a large region / territory.
  • The Viking Diet was very close to the Paleo Diet mentioned above and they ate a lot of Creatine-containing meats which contributed significantly to the height, mass and strength they are famous for. Here is a description of meats high in Creatine, many of  which are obviously right in the wheelhouse of a typical Viking's diet - 

Wild Game

  • Wild game is the richest dietary source of creatine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Game meats include rabbit, venison, elk, wild boar, ostrich, moose, buffalo, bison, squab and wild duck. As a bonus, game meat has significantly fewer calories, more lean body tissue and less saturated fat than domestic meats, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. Game meat is also higher in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat than domestic meat.
  • Vikings fought with the Tactics and Tenacity that often had their battles won before they even started. Famous for their No Fear No Prisoners "Berserk" style of fighting, they would be the ultimate shock troops on a modern battlefield.
  • In addition to their all out battlefield tactics, the Vikings also made alliances between warring factions and even entertained and adopted Christianity in order to control conquered regions.  Bottom line is they did anything and everything required to "Adapt, Modify and Overcome".  Modern day up and comers would be well served to study the "boardroom" tactics of the Vikings.
There's 6 topics and commentary that are about as wide ranging as you can get and that will hopefully give you some new information, insight and perspectives on the topics listed.

I welcome you to comment on this or any posts you read on this blog in the "Comments" box below each post.

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Preparing for Change but keeping things in Perspective

It seems my life has been in a state of continuous change for at least 4 years now.

I look back at the beginning of 2012 as the beginning of this life cycle of change.

Coming off an incredibly lucrative but mind numbing, body destroying year of 70 hours per week of work behind a computer and a lifetime high weight of 216 and high blood pressure and aching joints, I realized....

Change was Essential for Survival.

I took off on a Texas State Park hopping Sabbatical with nothing but camping gear and a mountain and road bike determined to regain my health and reset my priorities.

That 4 week tour of the Hill Country of Texas was interrupted with a call from my employer to return for a 2 week work assignment in Germany which I gladly accepted and turned into a grand cultural and travel adventure with a 1-week 350 mile bike tour down the Rhine River experiencing 5 beautiful German cities.

With my weight down 20 lbs from the all time high and a desire to continue the roll of adventure and travel I was on, I planned and executed the trip of a lifetime - a 2350 mile 56 day solo self supporting bike tour of the Pacific Coast from Seattle to and through San Diego to the gates entering Mexico at Tijuana.

A continued commitment to increased physical activity found me trying different group classes at my local fitness club, Family Fitness, in Lake Jackson.  From Body Pump 3 times per week and Boot Camp twice a week and extended bike rides I maintained a high level of activity for the next 18 months and got stronger and more fit but was still not satisfied with my weight and the way I looked.

Fast forward to Spring 2014 when I started CrossFit and a strict Paleo diet which was an incredibly potent and timely combination.  My weight dropped quickly from 192 lbs to a 30 year low of 166 lbs in 3 months and my body transformed from fit and fat to ripped and muscular.

My left knee which had started being a significant pain / mobility issue as early as 2009 got significantly better with the increased activity and decreased body weight.

Unfortunately,  a series of overuse injuries starting with a torn left groin in August 2014 and a torn left achilles tendon in February 2015 slowed me down significantly.  Surgery to remove a debilitating bone spur from my left knee in July 2015 prolonged the injury period.

I thought I was on the road to recovery from the injuries in the August - December 2015 period but was hit with a total failure of my 30 year struggle with my arthritic left knee.  The last little bit of protective and cushioning cartilage disappeared and  left me in a bone to bone, pain filled, restricted mobility,  semi-crippled state that forced me to quickly face the realization that it was time for the Total Knee Replacement that my orthopedic doctors had been recommending for the last 2 years.  That TKR procedure is scheduled for April 4th and the rehab / recovery from it will be long and painful but will hopefully put me in a better physical state than I have been in for several years.

And so the War of Change continues.

"War Of Change"

It's a truth that in love and war,
World's collide and hearts get broken,
I want to live like I know I'm dying,
Take up my cross, not be afraid

Is it true what they say, that words are weapons?
And if it is,then everybody best stop steppin',
Cause I got ten in my pocket that'll bend ya locket,
I'm tired of all these rockers sayin' come with me,
Wait, it's just about to break, its more than I can take,
Everything's about to change,
I feel it in my veins, its not going away,
Everything's about to change.

It creeps in like a thief in the night,
Without a sign, without a warning,
But we are ready and prepared to fight,
Raise up your swords, don't be afraid,


This is a warning, like it or not,
I break down, like a record spinning,
Gotta get up,
So back off,
This is a warning, like it or not,
I'm tired of listenin', I'm warning you, don't try to get up,

There's a war going on inside of me tonight (don't be afraid) [x2]

Wait, it's just about to break, its more than I can take,
Everything's about to change,
I feel it in my veins, its not going away,
Everything's about to change,
It's just about to break, its more than I can take,
Everything's about to change,
I feel it in my veins, its not going away,
Everything's about to change

It's true.... Everything is about to change.

Things will be difficult for awhile and some people are worried about my recovery and being alone during that recovery.

And frankly, I'm a little worried too.

It's been suggested that Pride is driving my desire to "Handle it Alone"  as much as possible.  I don't think that's it.  I've just become so accustomed to doing things alone and being alone that I'm not sure I can handle being around somebody all the time especially in a compromised state.

I know the few times recently that I have experienced prolonged social interactions with individuals or groups of people, it's left me realizing how challenging and energy consuming it is to be in the presence of other people.

Don't get me wrong, I need and enjoy the interaction and conversation that these experiences convey but it's almost like I have to manage the frequency and duration of them lest they become detrimental and draining to my balance of Life.

Guess I'm just not cut out for a lot of shared time.

Anyway, I am preparing mentally and physically for what will be a pretty rigorous surgical procedure and recovery.  I've shared this link before on the Total Knee Replacement Procedure but figured I'd throw it up again (which is a pretty appropriate preceding phrase for viewing this video) for the purpose of education or temporary weight loss....

This procedure includes the use of "jigs" and "templates" for what is called "computer navigation" of the sawing and cutting that is done.  Dr. Stocks will not use these jigs and supporting devices but will "free hand" the cuts but the procedure is still pretty much the same.  The reason for his procedure approach is that long term studies have shown that the incidence of infection is increased with all the equipment / hardware that is introduced into the joint for the "computer navigation" technique.

Anyway - try not to barf if you decide to watch this video.  However, it is a sobering and graphic reminder of the severity of this procedure.

I was thinking about that this morning and about the painful path of recovery that lay before me and then I saw this video on Palladia and it made me think....

You know I'm not as bad off as some people.  I have the ability to get this fixed and I have loving people who care about me who are willing to help me through this "War of Change".

So watch this really cool video and realize.... things could be worse and try to keep your Life Trials and Tribulations in perspective.....

Hudson "Cast Out"

I was cast out of the sunshine Dragged to the dark by you Left for dead but the Judge didn't mind Thought ya got away and no one knew Well now it's time I get mine and you get yours No need to fight I'll burn back bright just like a torch Nail me down Bury me deep under ground I still survive Broke through the boards And I'm diggin for the floor I'm still alive Don't wanna do what I'm about to Do I'm gonna leave it all alone and let the truth haunt you If I had my way I'd break your face But Instead every day you're gonna hear my name Well now it's time I get mine and you get yours No need to fight I'll burn back bright just like a torch Nail me down Burry me deep under ground I still survive Broke through the boards And I'm diggin for the floor I'm still alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive

P.S. I really like the sound of this band and the theme and content of this song and video.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Texas Chili with a Moroccan - Asian - Italian twist

Ok - Let's just call in "International Chili!" OR  I guess you could call it "Kitchen Sink" chili and be done with it.

I've probably shown a step by step ingredient by ingredient breakdown of making chili in this blog several times over the past 4 years but as in life in general, things change, you add some stuff, you take some stuff out, you adapt and modify and try to make things better.

The bottom line is that you have to cook for your own tastes, your own palette and what your body needs or is asking for at any point in time.

And what my taste buds and body is asking for right now is a variety of tastes, textures, very well seasoned, even spicy, but not overly hot, with lots of veggies, a nod to the sweet side and some lean proteins thrown in there to back it all up.

So without further adieu, let's get this chili wagon started!

Start out with a smoking hot Cast Iron Dutch Oven.

I always do my "hard" veggies first because they take the longest to cook - Duh!

This is a cup of organic multi-colored carrots.... 2 - 3 minutes stirring continuously on these.

Here's a lot of the rest of ingredients:
1 large sweet onion
2 poblano peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
Carrot sticks
Yellow Squash
Crimini mushrooms
TJ"s Sweet Basil Chicken & Turkey Sausage

Everything that goes in the pot is seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, quick chili mix and my African-Moroccan mix of Cumin, Garam Masala, Turmeric and Allspice.  This combo of traditional chili and more exotic spices really gives the chili an extra zing on the palette..... and that's a good thing!

This is the onion, peppers and asparagus. Stir and Roll for at least 5 minutes.

Next is the softer vegetables - Yellow Squash and Eggplant - seasoned as above. I also threw the diced TJ's Sweet Basil Chicken and Turkey Sausage and diced ginger and garlic in at this time. Stir and Roll for another 3 minutes.

Hold it... Did you say Ginger in Chili..... I told you we were going down the Asian aisle with this one!

Don't worry about it.... it's diced fine and is very subtle in the maze of the rest of the ingredients.... but you can taste it and again - 

That's a good thing!

 While that's going on, debone, dice and season the roasted chicken.  That's a pretty good pile of chicken - at least a pound but will disappear in the mass of veggies.

And for the sweet element - a whole fuji apple sliced and diced and seasoned with cinnmaon and a cup of the crimini mushrooms go in next.  Keep rolling and stirring for another 3 minutes.

Add in the diced chicken, roll everything in and then add a cup of chicken stock and then a good glug glug of Cabernet just to get everything deglazed from the bottom of the pot and add a little more moisture and flavor.

At this point, you've basically got a pretty good looking Chicken and Sausage stew or gumbo but with no rue.

Here's where the nod to Italy comes into the chili with a jar of Newman's Sockarooni Marinara Sauce.  Just hold your horses..... this is gonna work.  This is my favorite store bought spaghetti sauce and we're gonna turn it back to the Dark Side of Chili here in a minute.

Next add a can of good quality diced tomatoes.

And here's where the real chili taste comes in with a good dusting of the whole thing with Cayenne, Quick Chili Mix and 2 teaspoons of turbinado sugar to cut the acidity of all the tomatoes and bring everything together.

Stir all that in and keep it simmering for another 5 minutes.

Dice up a good batch of cilantro and basil.....

And add to the mix.

Mix all that in real good and turn down the heat to medium just so it's barely bubbling.....

Cover for 5 minutes....

And Voila.... that's some great looking, low fat, low bad carb, high protein, great tasting chili.....

With a bowl already removed!

I garnished with 3 thin slices of TJ's Smoked Gouda and sided with a Fruit Punch Creatine - Chocolate Protein drink for some added post workout recovery and protein.

If you add up all the minutes in the steps above, it's about 24 minutes give or take.

Yep - that's a huge pot of great tasting chili with at least 24 1-cup portions of really dense, nutritious chili

You can side this with a sweet salsa of pineapple, cantaloupe, avocado, banana, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper or a simple salad of Spring Mix, Tomatoes, Avocadoes, Carrot sticks and blueberries dressed with EVOO and Balsamic.

Yep - I'll be eating this 30 min meal for the next 5 - 7 days and enjoying every bowl of it.

Call this Chili anything you like.

I just call it DELICIOUS!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Marching to the Beat of a Caveman's Drum

As I alluded to in my previous Catch-all post, adherence to a strict Paleo diet and lifestyle has kept me in the Game of Life despite a pretty significant handicap.

Here are a few recent meals that highlight this path of success....

For my first and only disclaimer, grits are not Paleo.... they are a grain - corn - and I can definitely feel the High blood sugar - Insulin overshoot - Low Blood Sugar undershoot cycle that is so well described in Mark Sisson's "The Primal Blueprint" as the single most destructive mechanism to the human machine - but they are a calculated indulgence that I enjoy at least once a week.... and in this case I corralled them with a host of Paleo offerings including on the left, an ample Spring Mix Salad with tomatoes and fuji apple sided with a cast iron skillet grilled bevy of asparagus and sweet onions.

And on the right, 2 eggs, roasted chicken breast and guacamole.....

And yes - I do eat this much food at least twice a day and still maintain a low body fat level and plenty of muscle at 172 lbs and 5'10".

10 minute breakfast - more asparagus, a beautiful hard seared patty of organic pork sausage, guacamole, tomatoes and 2 eggs....

Conventional wisdom is bullshit - it's not the fat that kills you.... it's the simple carbs that are converted by your body quickly into blood sugar which is then met by an over insulin response to rid the blood of the high blood sugar, thus sending the sugar straight to your body to be stored as fat and resulting in a temporary low blood sugar condition that leaves you feeling sleepy and with low energy so what do you do - go have a sweet treat or high sugar drink to get your blood sugar back up.... a never ending destructive cycle.

So the next time you think about reaching for a grain or gluten-rich Energy Bar, reach for a chicken thigh instead.

That's what a Caveman would do and he was a helluva lot healthier than 99% of today's population!

Geez - what a beautiful plate of Spring Mix salad, tomatoes and wedges of clementine oranges topped with a cast iron skilled seared Wild Sockeye Salmon fillet coated with salt, pepper, cumin, garam masala and all spice and sided with the same cast iron skillet grilled asparagus.

Eat this and you will be happy you did.

Repeat after me..... Meat and Eggs are my friend!

And in the Caveman way, eat in front of a roaring fire!

Living at 7200' in a beautiful, arid environment is another way to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Yep - that's my grocery basket - get your carbs from a cornucopia of fresh, colorful, anti-oxidant, nutrient rich fruits and veggies.  These are the right kind of carbs!

Be selective with your proteins - Buy wild, organic and pasture raised if you can afford it.

And who can't afford a $5.99 / lb Wild Sockeye Salmon fillet and a $7.99 Rockfish fillet?

 A base of Spring Mix with tomatoes, carrot sticks and blueberries with a hot mix of green beans, onions, jalapeno peppers, ginger, yellow squash, deboned chicken thigh and pork sausage.

And all together now.... 

This is a huge portion of food that has a ton of nutrients.

I ate the whole thing and had absolutely no "Big Meal Hangover" like I would've had with a meal containing rice, pasta, bread or some other gluten products.

And the kicker is..... all of these meals were prepared in less than 10 minutes.

So lack of time is no excuse.

Playing Catch-up in The Discovery Zone

Once again, Sports Fans, I haven't posted for a while..... for a lot of reasons alluded to in prior posts.

No inspiration, Lots of Pain, Had my Spring Allergy / Flu 3-day bout.... yada yada yada.

Bunch of excuses basically, but I'll try to make up for the last 2 weeks of Silence with a Blast of Ideas / Notions / Concepts / Comments so here's my listing of posts that will be covered in this post:
  • A Call to Arms (Hint: Guns Out!)
  • We have met the Enemy.... And They are Us!
  • I waited too Long!
  • Don't bring a Knife to a Gunfight
  • I Choose Not to Want (now if that's not a trademarkable hook phrase, I don't know what is!)
  • Dealing with Incompetence is my Achille's Heel
  • How I deal with the "You just don't understand me" argument.
  • Pride - in my Dad, my Son, my Daughter and Myself
  • What I have learned in the last 3 months
Yeah, I know it should be 9 different posts but I'm trying to economize my thoughts and energy so don't bitch.... just read.... or don't read.

A Call to Arms

Here's a nod to genetic blessings.  Yeah, I wasn't born with great height or great muscle mass, have non-existent calves and definitely not good knees but dammit, I have some good.....


Yep - don't get me wrong, they are not massive.... but they are well proportioned, lean, muscular and most importantly - very vascular!

For whatever reason, lots of people - men and women - appreciate men with good arms.  I guess it's like a women with big boobs or something. 

I really haven't been able to work out that much lately because of my locked up left knee but I have maintained a few basic body weight exercises like pushups and pullups and some light weight presses, curls, etc and with that little bit of activity and a strict Paleo diet, my arms, while not as strong and muscular as they have ever been, seem to be pretty cut, lean and veined out.

Definitely something that turns people's heads and that's a good thing.

We have met the Enemy..... and They are Us!

The source of this simple, catchy but thought provoking phrase is as follows:

It's a theme that I have seen repeated in my own life many times and many more times in the lives of others.

In a nutshell, it is a subset of the counter Karma theme, in the sense that almost invariably, I do the most damage to myself when I am trying to do damage to others.  

Bad or negative thoughts, intentions, actions or wishes projected from ourselves has a way of turning the world against us.

Yep - you are your own worst enemy..... so watch that attitude, that tongue and smile at people a lot.

I waited too long

This refers specifically to the Final Solution with my Left Knee - that being a Total Knee Replacement.

I had been meeting with orthopedic doctors / surgeons and physical therapists over the past 1-1/2 - 2 years and they were all telling me that it was just a matter of time.... the knee needed to be replaced.

My goal and intent was to keep the leg and knee as strong as possible through as much activity as the knee would allow... and it seemed to be working.

I was expecting there to be some sort of graded / controlled "final" descent of the knee where it would get progressively worse and more painful over a period of months.

That's not the way it happened.  One day I was hiking, doing CrossFit and pretty mobile and active with the left knee.... the next day I was flat of my back in my bed not being able to move the leg at all.

"The Blowout" as Dr Woods, my long time Fondren Orthopedic Group surgeon who has been working on this knee for the last 30 years, related to me seemed to have occurred in one cataclysmic event and left me crippled for the last 3-1/2 months.

Had I known it was gonna go all at one time like this with little or no warning, I would have planned the surgery while I was still active, strong and mobile.

Lesson learned.

Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight - You lose!

I've always appreciated this little quip of wisdom but heard it put to music in a Sick Puppies offering....

The song speaks to several lop-sided battles in history and current events but it goes back to the concept of doing your homework on any meaningful life effort and being prepared for things to go wrong.

I always ask myself on any important decision - 

What is the worst thing that could happen in this scenario?

If it happens, can I handle it?  Am I prepared for it?

Considering the consequences of your actions before you act is one of the best deterrents I know of doing something stupid.

Making the Least of What You Have

Not just a play on words but a basic Life Hack.

Almost 2 years ago, I decided to downsize and streamline my life, my possessions and my responsibilities.

2 years later, I can look back at that decision and can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Selling my house, 90% of my material possessions and condensing everything down to just a few items that captured the essence of who I am and what I wanted to do going forward, gave me a freedom that is hard to explain to someone caught up in antique armoirs and 3 car garages.

At this point, I can load everything materially important to me in the open seats and trunk of a Mustang and a 4x4x8 trailer on the back.

And that's a good feeling.

I Choose Not to Want

That little phrase just popped into my head the other day but it was precipitated by some thoughts and reflection on my choices for a simple lifestyle.

As I told some of my family members the other day, I really appreciate my Samsung TV and entertainment system but my greatest pleasure in life is....

Preparing and Eating Great Tasting Nutritious Food.

And ironically, it turns out that is the single most important element in maintaining a happy and healthy life.

I choose not to want a lot of things like fancy, expensive houses, cars, vacations, hobbies, etc. and because I choose not to want these things, it makes it possible to not have to work as much as those that desire those things.

Choosing Not to Want actually gives me the Power to Separate Myself from the prison of debt, financial slavery, worry, stress and all the negative conditions and consequences that result.

Controlling Your Desire for Want may rank up there in the top 5 of Life Happiness Factors.

Dealing with Incompetence is my Achilles Heel

Anybody that knows me or has spent any time with me at all knows that I just can't deal with incompetent people.

It was my downfall in my corporate vocation and it continues to plague me even in everyday interactions.

Maybe it's because I place so much importance on planning tasks and doing things efficiently and I mistakenly expect the same approach from others.

I have truly worked on being more patient and understanding of others especially when relying on them to do something that ultimately benefits me or that I need help with.

Maybe the problem is that I know too much.... and I don't want to sound boastful or egotistical, but the fact of the matter is that when I go into a new situation / area of knowledge / problem, I usually do a little due diligence work ahead of time so that I know when I talk to someone about it I can tell if they're blowing smoke up my ass or not.

Now, in my defense and just to give equal time to the opposite situation, I also stand and applaud Competence and Capability and those people who really have their shit together when I encounter them.

As I have said many times before, the inability in dealing with incompetence is the reason I rejected the corporate world where I could make much more money and embraced the less lucrative, less secure world of Independent Contracting... that way the only Stupid SonofaBitch I have to deal with is....


How I Deal with the "You Just Don't Understand Me" argument

First of all, you might imagine that I never heard this little phrase from a Man.... cause no straight Man would ever say something like that.... I feel myself digging a hole here....

Yep - it's the favorite out for Women who find themselves dealing with a Man they can't change or who sees through a woman trying to manipulate them.

So short and sweet..... How do I deal with a woman that says "You Just Don't Understand Me".

Pretty simple.

I just smile....

And walk away.

Pride - in my Dad, my Son, my Daughter and Myself

There's an old saying - "Pride always comes before a Fall" - but in this case, I'm talking about a different kind of Pride.

I'm talking about the Pride that comes from respect.

Respect in accomplishments, attitude, approach, character, change for the good, pride in who you are, what you have become.

I'm gonna start with my Dad. For all the challenges that Dads and Sons face and all I have faced with my Dad, there's something about an 88 year old man that does the work to prepare, plant, cultivate and harvest numerous crops, vegetables and fruit from a 5 acre farm that makes you just want to stand up and say....

"You see that ornery old SonofaBitch over there on the tractor - that's my DAD!" 

This is a guy that defies many of the basic tenets of a healthy lifestyle and yet has the Tenacity of Life and the Attitude of a Lifelong Hard Work Ethic that makes up for a lot of other deficiencies.

The guy just keeps pushing the boundaries of activity, work and outdoor activities including farming, fishing and hunting.

I don't even know if I want to live to be 88 but if I do, I want to have the same attitude, vigor, energy and zest for life my Dad has.


It's no big secret I am a huge fan of my Son.  

We are not at all alike and yet have fashioned and molded a mutual respect of friendship, counsel and shared interests over the years.  There are many things I admire about him but certainly at the top of the list is his commitment to family, willingness to be open minded and level headed and his desire to expand his knowledge and utilize his time to the maximum to better his life and that of his family.  As I always say, I would like him even if he wasn't my Son.

As different as my Son and I are, my Daughter and I are 2 emotional peas in a pod.  We are both loud, expressive, sensitive, dramatic and apt to bouts of acting before thinking or saying whatever comes to mind.
What You See is What You Get is definitely a badge we wear well. 

Because of my own life challenges with some of these characteristics, I have taken every opportunity to counsel my daughter on the advantages and disadvantages of being that "Sunbeam that lights up the World".

And she has worked on it.  She has worked tremendously hard over the past 3 years to get a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and then complete her RN certification.  That required discipline and work ethic has matured her and rounded off some of the sharp corners of her personality and character.  She is now a Young Woman that I talk to as an Equal not as a child.  She has overcome a lot of adversity and prepared herself well for her own struggle with Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Well Done Daughter Well Done.

Finally, I have reason to be proud of myself.  I helped raise 2 great kids. I haven't done so well in 2 marriages but have learned a lot, faced the man in the mirror and admitted my mistakes, moved on and tried to be at peace with my past and have hope for my future.  2016 will be a challenging year but I'm up for it and whatever I can learn about myself and the world around me.

So bring it on.

What I Have Learned in the Last 3 Months

This is kind of a summary / takeaway from many of the thing listed above but there are a few new items so here goes.

As of the first of the year, I have been a veritable cripple compared to what I was last year.  I have cut the duration and intensity of my physical activity by at least 80% due to the painful and motion restrictive bone to bone condition of my left knee.

I have cut out all of my CrossFit style workouts and nearly all weight training with the exception of a Group Exercise class called Core Strength and More I do on Thursdays and I only manage it with much reduced weights.

However, what I have not cut out is my strict adherence to a Paleo Diet and basic tenets of a Paleo Lifestyle which is best explained and organized in Mark Sisson's book, "The Primal Blueprint".

It's amazing to me that I have been able to maintain most of my body's muscle mass, lean muscularity and vascularity without working intensely and without heavy weights just by maintaining a strict Paleo diet.

Don't get me wrong - I am not nearly as strong nor as cardio fit as I was when I was subjecting myself to the body blasting CrossFit workouts 3 - 4 times a week, but considering all I am doing is a couple of PIYO classes, 1 light weight class and riding my bike 2 - 3 times per week for 7 - 10 miles, I still look and feel pretty good.

Which reminds me of the Fernando Llamas quote - "I would rather look good than feel good" 

And the paraphrased quote from Mark Sisson - "I would rather look fit than be fit".

This experience has forced me to recognize that IF and WHEN I get back to being more mobile and active with my new left knee replacement, I will never go back to the intensity and duration of workouts I did before.

Not only would it put my knee replacement at risk but it's also just not necessary.

Don't get me wrong, I like being a 53 year old, strong, cardio-fit bad ass, but I also don't want to go back to being crippled and as Mark Sisson says I want to look as good as I can with the least amount of effort.

Based on what I have learned over the last 3 months, 80% of looking fit, lean and muscular is all about WHAT YOU EAT and not WHAT YOU DO!

But then I've been saying that for at least 2 years now - Right?

The other thing I've learned is that no matter what happens to you or what setbacks life hands you, you have to do your best to deal with it.

Keep your spirits up, make your plans for improvement, take whatever action you can, respect and deal with the pain of the situation whether it be financial, physical, mental, relational.... and just embrace it as part of life.

Take the positive actions of learning, armoring yourself with knowledge and discipline, seeking out counsel and inspiration from those you trust and most importantly, have confidence in yourself.  Don't look for blame or excuses, just embrace your temporary detour as another challenge in Life....

So how's that for a good game of Catch-up in the Discovery Zone!

Peace Out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Serving Up a Buffet of Discovery

Ever once in a while I'll write a post that has no central theme - it's basically just a hodge podge of ideas, notions, observations, comments and conclusions that individually don't have enough content for an entire post and collectively have no reference or connection to each other.

Some might consider them random musings.

Others might consider them evidence of a demented and destructive mind.

Regardless, here's a buffet of thoughts - pick and choose at your own leisure or peril.

I've touched on this before and was actually going to include it in a book I was gonna write called "In Search of the Male Ego:  A Study in the Loss of Modern Masculinity" but like a lot of other things, I've just put the book on a shelf in my mind and there it remains.  But it doesn't mean I can't continue to collect data and make observations and here's my observation.

Just watch any commercial where a man and woman couple are featured.  Almost invariably, I'm gonna say 90% of the time, the man is this dumpy, bald, stupid looking character that is portrayed as lazy, worthless or inept in any and / or all ways....

And the woman is this skinny, good looking Wonder Woman Master of the Universe looking chick.  She's usually taller, definitely better looking, sexier and obviously capable of accomplishing much more than her pussy-whipped male partner.

I am so sick and tired of seeing this I could just puke. I don't know what the commercial industry producers and directors hope to accomplish by this little thematic overly run model but it poisons the minds and perspectives of all viewers of these commercials, especially our children, into believing that all male representations / father figures / male mentors in the world are incapable of anything.  What a bunch of bullshit.

Let me tell you Feminist loving TV industry MF'ers and anybody else that thinks that this little oft repeated play of diminuitive Male representation is cute, funny or even appropriate. I took care of my daughter from 4 years old to an age where she could take care of herself as well or better than her mother or any other mother that ever raised a child.  I planned and fixed her nutritious home made breakfasts, lunches and suppers, did her hair, washed, dryed and folded her clothes, took her to school and picked her up from school and all the other stuff that goes with raising a kid.... took her to parks, hiking, fishing, hunting, backpacking, soccer.... you name it and in addition, taught her all the skills to do all these activities herself including a lot a typical girl isn't but should be taught like use of tools, lawn mowing equipment, how to change a tire - yada yada yada. And she thanks me for it frequently and repeatedly because it has put her head and shoulders above and beyond many of her peers.

Wow - that feels better - glad I got that off my chest.... Next topic.

Have described in past posts the concept of relationships being compared to or described as joining a common or parallel path with someone else for some length of time - maybe a week, a month, a year or a lifetime. The reason why it's important to visualize a relationship in this way is that the main reason for a relationship ending is that people's paths diverge.  This divergence can be caused by changes in interests, education, vocations, perspectives, priorities, physical - mental - emotional state... you name it.  People change over time and the way they view things, react to things and relate to their path partners changes.  That's why it's so hard to maintain a marriage / partner relationship over a long period of time.  And it's also the reason why a shared path should be shared for an extended length of time - I've always said at least 2 years - before any long term commitments are made.  Because it takes that long to see all the ups and downs and ins and outs of your partner.  And it's also the reason why you shouldn't have an intimate physical relationship with someone right away IF you are interested in them for the longer term.  I know that sounds Puritan or old school but the bottom line is that when you have sex with someone it skews your objective view of them.  It gets you emotionally engaged and biased and it represents an emotional investment that it's hard to walk away from - especially when you should walk away from the relationship for a lot of other reasons.

Not sure where that one came from... but there it is.

Berserkers!  Now there's a change of subject.  I'm a huge fan of "Vikings" on the History Channel and in the last episode one of the characters employed the service of a Berserker to attempt to hunt down and kill the son of Ragnar Lothbrok, who is taking a Man-Test Sabbatical in the snowy mountains. I have done some past reading on the Berserkers where you get the term "Berserk" but found this most recent inquiry into the subject matter most fascinating.  Here's the Wikipedia link:
The etymology shows that the name came from the wearing of Bear or Wolf skins into battle and Berserkers went armorless into battle and were harmed by neither fire nor iron.
And their ferocity may have been brought on by consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms or massive amounts of alcohol.  Hmmm.....

Pain before Pleasure.... it's been a theme of mine for quite some time - I guess a derivative of the overly used and abused "No Pain No Gain".  With my recent last leg demise (pardon the pun) of my left knee I have adopted a more elegant theme to this concept....

Investing in Pain Now for a Return in Pleasure Later.

I have to tell you honestly - it is a struggle to walk with the way my left knee is right now.  But every morning I go through a painful process of literally forcing the leg to straighten and contract.  Each step is a question mark of whether the knee will hold or buckle or whether the step will result in a knifing pain as the nerve endings on the upper bone (Tibia) itself come in contact with their counterparts on the bone of the knee joint below (Fibula) - because when you have no cartilage, that's what happens - Bone to Bone - Nerve to Nerve - and it ain't fun.

But my theory is that if I just lay down and throw the leg up all day long and suck in a bunch of pain pills, the leg is just gonna get worse and I will be totally immobile and I'll be calling on friends or some service to go buy my groceries for me or whatever.

And, in addition, my evaluation / interview with Dr. Stocks revealed that the health, fitness and specifically, the strength of the leg / leg muscles above / around / below the knee will directly determine the speed, success and ultimate performance of the knee replacement procedure short and long term.  I told him what I was doing to keep the leg mobile and as strong as possible and he endorsed it.

Move at all costs no matter what.  The pain of movement will be far less than the pain of immobility.

I believe that and will continue to practice that.

Last - Why I haven't been posting near as much this year.

Well - it's pretty much connected with the last thought.  I have been in a lot of pain and pain affects a lot of things.  It affects how you move, what you do and how you think and how you relate to people.  It's hard to be nice and social when you're in pain.  Frankly, it also impedes creative thinking. Also, much of my writing is based on experiences / discussions / conversations I have with other people in social situations such as at my CrossFit workouts at Praxis and the hiking I was doing with the Santa Fe Hiking Meet-up Group.  Since I have cut out those activities because I can't physically do them anymore, I simply don't have as much social interaction thus less concepts and ideas from those social interactions to write about.  It is the reason why I have taken such an accelerated and aggressive approach to getting my left knee replacement done.  My lifestyle is an active lifestyle. I want to go and do and meet and talk to people and it's just harder to do that when you're a veritable cripple.

So there you go - there's your Humpday Buffet from the Discovery Zone.

Hope it nourishes you in some way or at least makes you think.

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Metal is all about Nonconformity"

From the mouths of Babes comes....


Of a sort.

Interesting weekend.

Been searching for Metal Music or at least some real Rock Music in Santa Fe since I got here.... like for over a year now.

And noticed a 3-band event this last Saturday night at a place called the Underground which is basically the "basement" part of Evangelo's - a local bar in Santa Fe.

So I figured I'd check it out.

And I did and I wasn't disappointed.

Here's a text I sent to some family members to describe the scene....

At an actual heavy metal gig at a place called the Underground in Santa Fe - first time I've heard heavy metal since I've been here. It's Screamo which is a sub-genre of heavy metal I'm not fond of but I'll take it....

And the smoke is in the air. 

This place is aptly named cause it's small, low ceiling - like a dungeon - and let me tell you this is a crowd I have never seen in Santa Fe. I don't know where these head bobbing leather and denim wearing Viking looking MF'ers came from but all of the Metal Cockroaches have come out of the woodwork. Holy Medieval Experience Ragnar!

That does not adequately explain the close quarters and primordial vibes that were emanating from the bands performing and the audience that was attending.

Luckily I got there early enough to snag a high stool at the corner of the bar that gave me a pretty good vantage point and kept me out of the mini-mosh pit that formed as a slamming vortex between the performers and me.

One of the high points of the evening was meeting a like aged fellow metal music lover that was a New Jersey transplant.  We were probably the 2 oldest dudes in the whole place but none of the young Vikings seemed to care.

One of the comical but meaningful moments of the evening came when a cute young lady set down next to me at the bar.  She was obviously a local because several people came up to her and greeted her.  One guy pointed out the bright blue sweater she was wearing and said something to the effect that that was not the right kind of clothes for this event.  As I looked around at all the Goliath looking individuals - Men and Women - around me wearing metal band patches on denim and tons of leather.... and then I looked down at my pink American Eagle Polo, I thought "Yeah that guy is right!"

I pointed that out to the young lady in the blue sweater and she quickly fired back....

"That's Ok..... Metal is all about Nonconformity."

And no matter what happened after that....

My evening was complete.

I had found what I was looking for.

Metal Music.

And the reason I listened to Metal Music.