Writing Flights of Fancy

In writing Ronin’s Journey, an autobiographical book, is the human tendency to make yourself look better. Fortunately, I have the journal entries to keep me on course with what was happening and where my head was. I also asked my editors to make sure I keep it down to earth. I am on the November chapter currently and two events that month are ripe for dramatization. It would be easy to make myself look like I am Batman. The little things that seem so little that make big differences in the end and not as earth shaking as it could be easily made out to be.

Just a thought that went through my head last week.

Dealing With Drama Without Having To Become A Hermit

Debate-Flow-Chart

I rarely get into debates/arguments any more over social or political issues these days. I took a cue from author, Marc MacYoung’s Facebook page, where he said an army intelligence officer asked his analysts three questions. I added one to the mix making a 4 Stage Filtration System that decides how to proceed. Here it is:

1) What Do I Know?
The answer has to be backed up with facts (to the original source is ideal) and personal experiences.

2) What Don’t I Know?
This is a far deeper well than what I know, this is where what you believe (cannot point to reliable sources or prove like hearsay. Parts go missing the more people it passes through.) Belief is important and accounted for so it can be dealt with.

3) Do I Even Care?
Unless it effects basic survival it is a mental exercise at best, and it has to interest me.

4) What Do I Think?
Now with the data at hand I can make a better, well-informed point or choose not to. Either way I still learn something like what are my biases.

Recent example, a celebrity allegedly insulted a race of people. Let us run this through my filtration system.

Facts? He does run off at the mouth. I have not personally heard him attack that group of people though it is possible. The internet media from obscure sites loves to sensationalize to elicit emotion.

Beliefs and Missing Information? I did not know if the headline was true.

Personal Interest? Yes, I have enjoyed his books so I read the story, then I went through the links to retrieve more information.

My Opinion? The article’s author took a real statement, attributed it against a larger group instead of the few it was intended. I will acknowledge that until we see a recording I could be wrong, when I see it from the horse’s mouth. Anything else is ‘a guy told me what he heard another guy say about _______’

This filter saves me from a lot of headaches and unproductive bitching.

Progress

Couple of weeks ago we lost my grandmother; she had been in the hospital for the last couple of months so it was not unexpected. With her passing the familiar ‘cry but cannot’ sensation returned. The day of the visitation, I went in alone at first, then with my wife; afterwards we walked through a light sprinkle to where they laid my grandpa to rest so I can clear my head.

Later I stayed up until 2am talking with my Uncle; the thing with talking to him is he makes me think. The subjects of times to die, how people are placed in key moments, and purging the emotional/mental cancer inside. I made sure to take notes so I can think of it all.

After we returned home, it felt like all the stages of grief cycled through in the course of days. Anger, sadness, and depression; I was in less of a mood for people than usual. I left the deaf church at lunch to take a short walk to the coffee shop so I could be alone. Then the one-year mark arrived and we launched balloons in memorial to my godson. The last time I did that I barely wrote anything, this time I wrote a note just between him and me.

I know he will never see it; however, it did feel very liberating afterwards. The next day we were in the old room and Casey found my jump rope he loved to play with. It brought back good memories, something I had not had in a long time. It seemed like a block had lifted a bit so I do not see all the bad.

Progress

Losing It: The Insanity of Anger

One issue I’ve had for a long time is letting my limbic system (monkey brain) run wild creating scenarios in my head of what I perceive is happening or will happen. This usually results in angering me over imaginary situations with people. Ever do that?

Alright, now take it in another direction, arguments online and tough-talking keyboard warriors fighting over issues they have no control over. One of the stoic tools is to change the perspective when angry by looking at the humor of it. Sounds hard, right?

Here is what I do when I run scenarios in my mind that anger me:

When I start to get worked up during an imagined conflict, I pause and imagine what would happen if I said everything  that I was thinking in that current time and place. It would look like a screaming argument with my imaginary friend. Goodbye sanity, hello straitjacket.

In the second case of online arguments, you are in a sense arguing with your television. Sure there is another person on the other end, but can you really do anything to them? Threats are empty and amusing, all you’re doing is self-soothing at an unimportant slight while arguing with a glass screen. Verbalize it and the result is the same as the above scenario.

Farewell sanity, I knew you not.

Climbing the ROP Ladders Again; Six Week Self-Assessment

 

Eight weeks into press ladders, six since the last assessment, its time to see where I am now.

  • Sixty one-handed swings after I realized I should to push it a little to get into the five-minute window needed to progress.
  • Get-Ups, same reps, more weight now with four sets done with the 44lb kettlebell and only the one with the 28lb kettlebell.

Clean & Presses? I have reached the point where I stalled out at close to two years ago. Four ladders of 1-2-3 and one ladder of 1-2-3-4 for 34 reps. I am using what I have learned in the past and some self-experimentation to avoid the plateau again. One way is a post on Original Strength titled Original Strength for Brute Strength on using OS Resets to help the press. Through trial and error, I found Baby Crawls were the ticket. The second is another post I read on StrongFirst, where I am going to do Heavy Dead Stop Swings every day for 5 singles with my 70lb kettlebell to power up my clean. The kettlebell clean gets you tight for the press so you are stronger. It will teach me to be tight, or else.

Moreover, the most important thing, plenty of rest between the presses. The focus is strength so it is okay to take as long as needed on a training day.

I have also been ravenous lately so obeying my body’s signals I have been eating more calories any way I can cleanly. Adding ½ tablespoon of butter to my coffee nets 50 calories, more protein, even creeping over 150 grams of carbs occasionally due to activity level. Did it make me fat?

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.2                 14.12               -0.08

Shoulders             43.25                   43.75            +.50

Chest                      37            37.25                 +.25

Waist                             32.25                  32.25            0

Biceps                    12.37                 12.43             +0.06

Forearms                   10.71               10.87          +0.16

Thighs                         21.8                 21.81       +0.01

Calves                          13.75                   13.81         +.06

Weight                  152lbs          151.6           -0.4

Body Fat %                15.2%                15.3%         +.10%

Lean Body Mass    128.9lbs            128.4           -.5lbs

A little growth and some density added is my guess, looks like weight just shifted around. Either way, I’m not arguing with the results.