Monday 25 February 2008

My workout at the moment is...

Gym sessions have been a bit sporadic so far this year. Have let my gym membership go as it was far too expensive (nearly 700 euros). The gym was really poor (max 10kg dumbbells, no bench press) so was just using it for the pool and sauna. Any session are now conducted in the garage which allows me to have a varied, and at times an eccentric workout). My main goal is keep in shape which improving my core strength, flexibility, burn a few calories and maintain strength. Building size or gains is not a priority as during the summer I will not have to access to a gym and will be restricted to bodyweight exercises.

Usually start off with a good dynamic warm-up with a good bit of skipping (the best way to warm up or down). Try to do at least 600 reps(have a counter on the rope) with varied speeds. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near this guy.

Next up, Bench press 3*6 reps - only managing 50 kgs at the moment, but more than will not increase it too much more as it wouldn't lead to a balanced workout.

Any strength exercises are punctuated with various core and ab exercises.

Chin-ups (done properly) 3*7

A few more ab, back and flexibility exercises.
Captains Chair

Hamstring curl (best exercise there is for the hammers i reckon)

Pull-ups 3*4 (wide grip for the back)

Next, I start getting a little rowdy with all sorts of medicine ball slams and ab work.(Manage to keep my shirt on though)

Tricep dips using 2 chairs

Exericises to add
Generally not doing too much work on the legs at the moment, but will add tuck jumps 3*7 but would ultimately love to able to do single leg squats - a brilliantly simple but tough exercise

Hanging leg raises

Well, all I need to do now is just go and do it

Thursday 21 February 2008

Oh, Canada!

What's with those Canadians and their swirling, uplifting gems of perfect indie pop these days. Whatever it is, I'm loving it.

Stars - In our bedroom after the war (lovely stuff altogether)

(pity about a few people nattering away at the start)

Stars - The night starts here

Stars - Your ex-lover is dead

Obviously, Canada is a huge country but there is definitely a particular genre of music that many people would associate with it at the moment. Bristol was famous for producing a distinctive type of music a few years back with groups like Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead among others.

The start of this track hints at a song of understated, melancholic briliance.
The New Pornographers - Challengers

Sunset Rubdown

Friday 15 February 2008

What I'm Reading at the Moment - Messages

Blogging can provide an insight into the lives of so many people from such a variety of cultures and backgrounds. Yet, I don't think paper or books will ever be bettered in their appeal to people. Holding a weathered hardback complete with a musty odour doesn't warrant comparing with a whirring laptop. I love books. I'm a hoarder of books. I hate to give them away yet love to lend a favourite one to friends. Second-hand books are particularly appealing, especially if they have little notes or message held within. One of the first novels I read was "A Town called Alice" by Nevil Shute. Inside the front cover was the message "To Annie- for being there when I needed you most, Phillip". It was written in a beautiful, cursive reminiscent of another time when handwriting was a skill that mattered and impressed. Those short few words contained infinite possibilities for me. Who were these people? Did any of the characters in the book reflect these people? What had brought Phillip to write this message?

Recently, I stumbled on some site containing some voyeuristic gems that could inspire a thousand different in a thousand different people. Found magazine is a collection of found notes, napkins, letters, lists etc. Today's one is an inky post-it with the message "Thank you for defending my honor last night". Gold. Others are achingly real.

Another site, Post Secret allows people to do exactly that - post their secrets. Some hardy Valentine reality contained within.

I'd imagine for any writer grasping for inspiration would find plenty fodder between these sites.

Thursday 14 February 2008

Music - Cathy Davey

Recently listened to Jack Johnson's latest album. Very disappointing fare. Each song seems to be just a pleasant, unremarkable melody no different to the next one. I suppose many people would have said this of his earlier stuff but he just seems to be churning out safe, formulaic tunes neither likely to be loved or hated. One of the better ones is "Angel".

(Even as I listen to it again it just seems bland)

Cathey Davey is one of the many Irish singer-songwriters out there at the moment, but she manages to be distinctive enough in a crowded genre.

Sing for you Supper (live)

Cold Man's Nightmare

All of You

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Clubbing - Turnmills, London

Made my maiden voyage to this famous, London club last week. What a place! A vast labyrinth of rooms spread over 2 floors(I think) that provided room after room of house music. To be honest, I was no more able to navigate the venue after 6 hours hours there than when I arrived. The crowd were generally friendly with the usual London mix of nationalities, although the majority seemed to be white and in their mid/late 20s. The tunes were provided by Smartie Partie on the night with some serious cheese thrown in at different stages with a remix of Toca Me by Fragma (big hit in Summer of '99) getting an early airing.

By the end of the night, I had well and truly embraced the cheese though which definitely helped buoy the crowd as the night pushed into morning. Particularly loved a reworking of an old house classic, shown here from Melbourne.

Overall, a great night - no queues for drinks, jackets, toilets - and even though they were closing off rooms at 630am a few more were still rocking. London is seriously pricey place but I always have a great night there. So glad I got to see Turnmills before it closes down for good in a few weeks.

Friday 8 February 2008

What I'm Listening to at the Moment

Loving this hairy man's lazy manner with a guitar and a song.

Sharing my love with some of these funky house mixes that often start off a little too shlow and shekshey but build up brilliantly. Quality going out tunes.

What I'm reading at the moment

Generally, I read one light book and one heavy book at a time. At the moment, I'm reading a distinctly Irish book based on the D4 Celtic cubs (basically Dublin yuppies). The biting humour and some hilarious expression keep the parody from flagging. It's requires minimal brain power and certainly provides a few chuckles. I also started reading "Driving over Lemons" which is about a English couple who up sticks and move to a remote part of Andalusia in Southern Spain as I'm heading there for 'Semana Santa'

Have to confess, lately I've been dabbling with a few self-help type. Now, I'm not reading "The Secret" or "How to - be rich/get laid/be YOU!" yet but definitely wouldn't have considered some of my chosen material a few years ago. One of them is 'The Power of Now'
which is heavy going at times but has some interesting concepts. Perusing some other materials as well,which are often laden with that beaming, starry-eyed, manic psychobabble so popular with caffeine propelled guests on American chat shows. Some of them do contain some interesting elements but I think one could languish in self-analysis without ever really progressing. Doing the best you can right now is probably the way to go folks. Mr. Paulo Coelho phrased it well in that gem of a book 'The Alchemist'.

The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity

En el presente es donde está el secreto; si quieres prestar atención al presente, podrás mejorarlo. Y si mejoras el presente, lo que sucederá después también será mejor.

Thursday 7 February 2008

La Independencia

Wrote this a while back when I was in Guatemala. Probably full of mistakes but might try to start writing again a bit in spanish.

Por lo tanto, pienso que soy un varón bastante independiente. Cuando tengo problemas personales prefiero resolverlos por mi mismo. También, no me gusta compartirlos con amigos. Para mí, no hay punto a discutir un problema para la meta de solo compartirlo. Es por eso que me gusta viajar. Casi todos las decisiones son míos juntos con los errores, pero todo son míos.

El viernes pasado, me di cuenta que a veces mi independencia no es tan profunda. Bebí casi una botella de ron con mi familia huésped. Ellos me tratan como uno de la familia. En ese tiempo, me sentí a mis anchas y es todavía sumamente fácil platicar con ellos. Las horas pasaron rápidamente y y dentro de poco era los doce, traté de salir de la casa pero las padres no me permetieron. El padre dijo "No permito que salgas porque ya es demasiado peligroso". Primero pensé que me estaba tomando el pelo pero después me di cuenta que tenia razón. Segundo me di cuenta que quise alguna influencia o control. Ya no sé porque.

Normalmente nos gustan las cosas que nos influyen. Sin influencias no podemos crecer. Nos quedaríamos en lo mismo para siempre.
Por lo tanto, pienso que soy un varón bastante independiente. Cuando tengo problemas personales prefiero resolverlos por mi mismo. También, no me gusta compartirlos con amigos. Para mí, no hay punto a discutir un problema para la meta de solo compartirlo. Es por eso que me gusta viajar. Casi todos las decisiones son míos juntos con los errores, pero todo son míos.

El viernes pasado, me di cuenta que a veces mi independencia no es tan profunda. Bebí casi una botella de ron con mi familia hues

Friday 1 February 2008

Resolutions II

Managed to write another entry within a week - these resolutions must be working!

Anyone reading this blog must think that I am obsessed with goals, plans and purposes when in fact I'm just far too 'floaty'. Without a tangible framework to guide and motivate me, I tend to drift aimlessly feeling an underlying guilt for some unknown path I could and should be taking. So let me be my little anal self...

  1. Continue to widen my social circles. Normally very good at this but definitely far less opportunity for meeting a range of people where I live. Easy to continually hang out with the same people similar to your own background, culture and interests. Always loved that Anais Nin quote "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born", which best encapsulates that notion that each new friends awakens something different inside you.
  2. Trust my instincts. I think I have built up enough life experience at this stage to trust the nagging impulses that urge me to act. I have often suppressed these telling signs to suit other people around me or whatever conventions a social situation may dictate. This could mean chatting to someone while you wait for a bus/ lift. I don't think I've ever regretted a few idle words with a stranger, but have often regretted not speaking to someone. Telling the truth more ( i.e. less white lies, being more direct). I've sometimes been picky with the truth to suit myself or others. Shielding the truth from people, and oneself, generally leads to a pickle of some sort later on.