log: surrender

Surrender is an underrated skill. Maybe because it’s easy. Might be because it threatens one’s ego. When you’re fighting, you have to defeat someone else. When you surrender, you defeat yourself. On purpose. But knowing when and how to surrender important.

Sometimes, you just need to give the fuck up.

After spending last summer struggling through the heat, trying to figure out how to maintain myself and my sense of myself, until I finally dissolved into some sort of punk mess, I decided that this year I was going to just say fuck it and give up. Surrender early, surrender hard, and don’t look back. The second the heat came, my fucks would go.

The heat came. The humidity came.

And I waved the white flag.

But surrendering took some preparation. I was able to prepare. Last summer I saw how uncomfortable I felt with the sort of preppy look that emerged when I just tried to dress down. I was so much happier when I just let myself become a mess and de-prepped with some punk patches.

So this year I, at least, have some idea where this is all going. Having decided on surrender, I was able to get ready for it. Bought some t-shirts. Ol’ Dirty Bastard and The Fall and some others in the mail. These should do me for years.

I’m still trying to figure out the whole legs situation. I have a grand total of three pairs of summer pants –one of which doesn’t fit and another which is white– and four pairs of shorts. So I’m good on the shorts front. Think I could probably use another couple pairs of pants. I’ll have to experiment. Due to the rain, it’ll be good to be able to roll them up.

And I need to figure out something with footwear. I need something waterproof.

But, all in all, I feel pretty much ready.

Other than that, my gym membership expired and, well, I’m not going to renew it. I like having a gym in my life but that place was getting too crowded. Too many people for the space they had and the hours they kept. On top of that, the staff (two body builders) routinely hogged the machines. Like, I hate being like ‘the staff shouldn’t do that’ and Satan knows, I do not subscribe to ‘the customer is always right’ but, like, if there’s a shortage of space and I’m paying, I don’t want to have to wait for a worker to finish with their program before I begin mine. When they started asking customers to move so they could work out? Well, fuck it, I’m done. That never happened to me but I don’t even want the stress of thinking it could happen or seeing it happen. So I’m back to working out in the woods.

I’m also thrilled that I finally got close enough to a sound I always hear in the summer to get an ID on it from my bird call app. It’s a Northern Boobook. A sort of brown hawk owl.

Almost certain!

I’m also trying my hand (or my feet?) at some running. Never really done much running and what I’ve done has always been on a treadmill. Now I’m running on the Haeundae Blue Line. Basically 3-5km runs. To do the 5k means walking about 4km to get to where I start and, after I finish, I have to climb the hill/mountain to get home. But I’m liking it. I’m also trying to get up this hill/mountain that I live on. That’s going to take some work, I think.

after first 5k

I got myself a little backpack and that helps. Haven’t had a backpack since high-school. Honestly, I’m thrilled with the thing for my exercises, Can carry my skipping rope, water, a towel, phone, wallet, headphones, all that shit, and keep my hands free.

This summer, I’m looking forward to running down to one of the beaches and jumping in the water for a swim. Assuming, you know, we’re not in the middle of a plague or some such.

My studies are going well. I’m enjoying my summer classes.

As far as the plague goes, the outdoor mask restrictions were lifted a few weeks ago but the vast majority, myself included, are still wearing ours. There’s not really much of a noticeable difference on the streets, though life and hustle and bustle is returning to the city. And The Mystery Library finally reopened – two days a week– and that gives me a nice place to get out and do some reading with a coffee. So I’m happy with that.

Things are decent.

log: suicide sprints

Odd midnight trip to the woods. I met another human, which is incredibly rare. We chatted. Well, we tried to. His English and my Korean are both abysmal. We managed to discuss animals. We walked together to the outdoor exercise area.

I’d brought my skipping rope into the woods. Although I go to the gym, this summer, I want to add some night-time cardio. Long and short of that is I don’t want to bulk up as much as I have been. I’m going to adjust some of my routines for more of a focus on speed, agility, strength, balance, and endurance. I want to lose a little bit of mass without losing strength.

At the exercise zone, while I skipped, he ran through boxing drills. It’s a testament to the safety of this country that I was alone in a dark forest with a stranger who was punching the air and, not once, was I concerned for my safety. It was just social.

Then this maniac wanted to do suicide sprints on the badminton court. Basically you run to one end, touch the line with your hand, run back, do the same, and you keep doing that. Sounds easy enough. Try it, sometime.

We did 15 three minute rounds of suicides together with one minute breaks. I mean, fucking hell. Now, I usually don’t do 15 sets of anything. My basic workout philosophy is, if you can do more than five sets of a thing, you aren’t going hard enough. I don’t know if that’s a good philosophy but it works for me and gives me a frame to operate in. So 15? I only made it through because having a partner makes it easier. And, well, I also hate to lose in that sort of competition. Well, I don’t mind losing but it won’t be for lack of trying. I’ll be a puddle before I quit. When I said that I was going to be sore tomorrow, he taught me some strange but effective breathing exercises. They seemed like Tai Chi but I really don’t know what they were. But you could really feel the breath in your stomach. We finished up, became “sports friends”, and exchanged numbers. He likes sports. We might play catch!

And we walked out together. So, an odd thing about the woods, a thing that I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned, is that the forest where I walk is full of graves. Mound burials. The odd tombstone but usually just large unmarked mounds where people are buried. The woods is basically a cemetery. We walked past two or three mound burials on the way out. He pulled out his phone and started playing Thriller. So he’s a comedian, I guess.

We saw some cops driving around and we goofed on the police for a while. That’s important. A basic contempt for police is vital. It’s something I take for granted in a friend.

So yeah. Odd trip out. And, damn, I’m sore.

In other news, the outdoor mask mandate was lifted today — except in certain environments. I’m going to keep wearing mine. Mainly, I don’t feel like digging around in my pocket to find my mask when I need it. And it’s not like it’s hard to wear or anything so . . .

log: pull-up

WORMDATE: L2: 556-144,152: 2-1,973: 14.8 %

Staggered home tonight. Not for any sort of fun reason. Just wore myself out at the gym. I’ve been using a jump rope. I actually call it a “skipping rope” but no one else seems to.

Anyway, after my workout, I pushed myself until I wore my legs out on with that rope. Then, instead of taking a break, I decided to see how fast I get up the hill out of the forest. One I hit the top of that hill, I was pretty wobbly. By the time I got to the top of the hill I live on, well . . .

I have not felt this fucked up by workout since I was . . . Sixteen? I think. Maybe 18.

One of my cousins in England took me to train at his boxing gym. Now, he was a pretty serious boxer, professional, but his friend was something else. That guy was up for the run at the championship in his weight class. Had some bad luck hit. A thing like boxing at that level –a thing about anything at that level– is you don’t just need to be really fucking good at boxing. You also need life to fall just the right way.

And, long and the short of it, his didn’t,

He was standing in line for a club one night when some maniac came at someone with a machete. He blocked the blow with his arm. And that ended it. Now, he was still probably a guy who could beat the living shit out of most people you’re ever likely to meet but to get to a championship? Shit needs to be just about perfect. And, after that it wasn’t. That machete wrecked his prime and it’s not a forgiving field.

Still, training with those guys was nuts. Especially for some skinny stoner. The workout just about murdered me. Then it was time for sparring. They went at it first. I stood ringside watching them pound each other senseless, knowing that I was up next and knowing I stood no chance at all. Like none. Not a fucking chance. Was I scared?

Yes.

But, scared or not, I was going to get in that ring. Because, like, there’s worse things than being knocked out and, even at that tender age, I’d been knocked out for dumber shit than pride. I faced the situation with my usual fatalism. Not much I could do about it except go in and die. My cousin reassured me that his friend wasn’t going to go at me that hard. He’d find my level at work at that. So I got in the ring and just got rag-dolled.

Didn’t land a punch. Mark just knocked my blows away like nothing. Every once in a while, he’d just like bat me around like a cat playing with a mouse –just in case, I thought I was doing well, I guess, but not enough to hurt me– and some of the longest two minutes of my life came to an end. I think I lasted three rounds. Might have been two. They were both surprised that I made it past one. I am a bit of a stupid and stubborn fucker tho.

By the end, I could not even lift my hands. You ever been that tired? You can’t even lift your hands up? And how do you think my legs were doing? Anyway, we took the bus back to Brixton, and I managed to lift my hands again, to get the er, black happy into my lungs, and then headed back to my grandparent’s flat in Wandsworth. I sat down and could not move.

Like, my body just would not move.

I’m not that bad at the moment. But it’s the most fucked up I’ve been from a workout since that time. It’s okay though. I’ve been trying to teach myself to do a pull-up. I couldn’t do even a single one. Last week, I managed to do one. Tonight, I did two.

Getting to one has involved working out a lot of other things. Aside from the upper body, it’s been a lot of hanging from the bars to build the grip strength. Negative pullups seemed to have helped. And my hands are covered in blisters. But I’ve managed to do one! Two even!

So I’m pretty happy with that. Bit beat up but happy.

log: midnight exercise

WORMDATE: L2: 775 -120,673: 1-1,821: 175,794 -2,586,769 

숲의에 나는 체육관을 발견헀어요 그리고 자정에서 운동거에요. It was a bit of a surprise. I attempted a new route through the woods. Part of that was because I heard what I think was an owl –specifically, a Himalayan Owl– and I was hoping for a meeting. No luck with that but I did suddenly see what looked like some sort of dentist chair. Turned out to be an exercise machine. And then I saw there were a whole bunch of exercise machines. Weights too.

I’m one of those perverts who enjoys working out, though I’m not all that fond of gym culture, I have a hard time exercising at home. Part of that is just consideration for my neighbors, part of it is something else. I don’t know. Being in some sort of gym just makes me exercise a little more seriously. And I’ve been missing exercise. So this was a good find.

These public exercise areas are sprinkled along all sorts of paths but this one is pretty close to the house. Basically, if I go the shortest way, it’s about a five or ten minute walk to the woods, and then about 300 meters along a thin path down a steep hill. And getting back up that hill is its own damn workout. So yeah, I’m pretty happy about this. Already made a trip back. Going to try to make use of these facilities a couple times a week.

I’m also looking forward to working out outside but not, like, around people in daylight. Gyms are a very controlled sort of environment. I feel like some elements can toughen a person up. And it’s nice out in the woods at night. Peaceful. You can hear the ocean.

I also acquired a new flashlight. Small little thing but decent. Red light. Aside from just generally feeling less obtrusive, the benefit of a red light flashlight is that it doesn’t mess with your night vision. If you switch it off, you don’t have to wait for your vision to adjust and you can keep moving. That comes in handy.

But for the past couple of nights, I hardly needed the thing. The moon has been big and bright and helpful. Aside from some places where the trees grow too thick, the forest has basically been lit. I wish there were birch trees though. Birch trees look great in moonlight.

No birch trees but there is a plant that smells like chicken waste. And a sign explaining its purposes and apologizing for its odor.

I also just finished my weeklong orientation course for school. I hate these things. Wife says that whoever built me must have built in a verbal kill switch. Say dreams, goals, hopes, passions, ambitions, and I shutdown and try to reboot. But it’s more or less done.

More or less because I’m having to upload a picture of myself for my ID and that’s taking some time to get cleared. After over a year masked in public, it feels a bit weird and intimate sending a photo without a mask. A bit like the school is like: “Send nudes!” But anyway, here’s my face nudie. We’ll have to see if they take it. Who fucking knows what they want?

Happy as always.

Speaking of masks, it seems like NA might be overthinking the shit just a little bit. I keep picking up these weird strands of people yelling at other people because they’re wearing a mask alone in their car, or talk of safety theater, or long pieces on do we still have to wear these outside and when and wear, and all that sort of thing. And that’s without the whole idiot rightwing thing about “freedom”, which involves a man in a bowtie claiming a mask is an inconvenient symbol of obedience. A man in a BOWTIE complaining about wearing something unnecessary. Have you ever tied one of those things? I have. It’s absurd.

I mean, I would love to blame people’s resistance to masks on Casual Fridays and the general emphasis on comfort in sartorial matters. It’s not like Casual Fridays suddenly freed people, birthing some crazy renaissance in personal style, clothing and self-expression. People just got fucking comfortable. Many starting reading any awareness of clothing, any feeling of wearing clothing even, as some sort of oppression. As usual, men were the fucking worst. Has there even been a race to the bottom that white cis men have not won? God forbid anyone wears a shirt with buttons. Who you trying to impress? Better to dress up like some gigantic toddler. Laces? Who needs them?

But then some bozo in A FUCKING BOWTIE turns up complaining about masks being impractical. It makes no damn sense. None of it makes any sense.

But, like, it all just seems like a lot of overthinking and thinking about the wrong thing. Unless you think Big Mask is running the world, mask etiquette seems pretty obliviously like a thing that will, more or less, take care of itself. Masks aren’t that inconvenient. They have a lot to recommend them. I’m quite fond of them. I mean, they’re producing too much waste and, god sakes, cut the strings before you toss them out, but they’re not annoying. They might be annoying if you insist on constantly thinking about them and making other people think about your lack of one. But, fuck me, I’m not going to live my life wondering when and where I can take my mask off, constantly checking my environment for signs that I can show the world my pretty face. I’m sure its been waiting. just put the thing on when I leave the house. I forget about it. It’s not hard. It’s just not that hard. We’ve had over a year to get used to it.

But, what has the last year been if it hasn’t the horrendous experience of whole societies trip over the lowest possible hurdles? Not that there’s anything new about that but still . . .

Anyway, moon.

Prayer to Satan

  • Warm up:
  • 5 sets, stability ball  crunches.
  • 5 sets, rows.
  • Sprint.
  • One set of each exercise, one after the other – so hammer curls, pull-downs, rows, no rest between them, a minute of uphill jogging and start again.
  • 3 sets, 40lb weights, hammer curls.
  • 7 drop sets, hammer curls.
  • 3 sets standing cable rope pull-downs, 65 lbs.
  • 7 sets, standing cable rope pull-downs, 50lbs.
  • Rows, 10 sets, 85lbs.
  • Then, after that . . .
  • 3 sets, weighted squats, one 45lb weight.
  • Stretch.
  • Hail Satan.
  • Eat a banana.
  • Blog about it.

Gym Bat Log

It’s a little hard to believe how much burpees have improved my endurance. Today, I did a declining ladder starting at twelve, with treadmill rest periods, which became to sprints on starting at six. (I had to cut out box-jumps though, replacing them with plank-jacks, because  box-jumps seem to have upset my knee – might try to get back to them in a bit.) That shit would’ve pretty much killed me a few weeks ago. But tonight?

Not so much.

Like, don’t get me wrong. I was tired and sweaty and shit after the burpees but felt like I could do more so I did a pyramid of bicep curls, starting at five and moving by fives up to twenty-five then down again, with fifteen pound weights and treadmill-jogging-rest with squats every ten seconds.

Then did some of these things . . .
Capture

I have no idea what the fuck these are even called. But, goddamn, they hurt!

(Also, that’s not a video so don’t worry too much about pressing the button to no result. I can’t figure out how to embed Instagram videos here. You can find the video here if you want. But, be warned, lady fitness instagram is a crazy house. I have no idea how these people do what they do or how/why they smile while doing it. Hilary Swank is trying to kill me and the lady above isn’t much better – she might even be worse. These must be some sort of sadists. Very cheerful sadists.)

What I do with these things is a declining ladder that starts two reps of seven. So I stack seven on my shins, unstack them, stack them again, unstack them again and that’s one. Next one is six. All the way down to zero. I like doing them that way because it makes me feel like I’m actually making progress and it’s somehow very satisfying to toss those stack things to the side like the horrible garbage they are. But, man, during this, I made some noises no human should ever make. My torso felt like it was on fire.

After that, I finished with five thirty second farmer’s walks of two thirty pound dumbbells with 45 second rest periods. These farmer’s walks are one of the most practical things I do. My job involves a lot of carrying and this shit really helps.

After all that, I still felt like I could do more but I also felt like I was really going to feel what I’d already done so I decided to pack it in and stretch.

Burpees, those motherfuckers work.