Strategy Vs Goals In Terms Of Forgiveness

I’ve talked about strategy vs goals before but I want to add a little bit and put it in a different context.

For one I want to throw out the phrase you don’t want a drill, you want a hole because I read it yesterday and it summarizes things pretty well. Getting a drill is the strategy, while ending up with a hole (for whatever reason you wanted a hole) is the goal. Although I can’t imagine that hole was the end goal.

You know, now I don’t like this saying, it’s too Dr. Seuss.

Anyway, I was looking at books yesterday and I didn’t get anything on money or business or success. Which is the area I really should be reading, it’s where I feel the most held back, but I just find it annoying. Now I don’t know if I sincerely don’t like the genre or if I’m being defensive and merely don’t want to feel scolded.

But I think what frustrates me is there’s a lot of goal and no strategy. I was looking at the DK book on the psychology of success and it said in bullet point you have to forgive yourself. Period. Self forgiveness equals good. And I’m like thanks, I know what the goal is – forgiveness – I’m looking for the strategy. You’re acting like it’s just said and done.

They touched on a study I heard about before where people with low self-esteem reacted worse than before when taught to repeat positive mantras (unlike the esteem healthy who get a measurable boost) because they feel like they’re lying and it’s a reminder of how they don’t stack up, rather than a reminder that they do. But again, that’s all they said. They said to make sure you’re mantra is specific but I still feel like they didn’t get to the heart of the issue.

So much advice in the field is just be perfect. I already feel like there’s immense pressure to pretend to be happy, if you don’t fake it til you make it on the happiness scale you’re a nobody and you’re not even trying.

And I hate the phrase fake it til you make it, it’s just totally abused and people use it to just justify lying to feel popular. I’d rather skip the first step, not fake it at all, and just make it. Whatever it is I’m willing to be seen making it, I don’t need to pretend it’s already done and I’m already great. I think the true spirit of punk rock is honesty and I’m willing – in fact I’m proud – to be totally honest about where I am in the process of making it.

In fact, exploring process is my favourite part of almost anything. Rather than read a completed novel I’d love to read and discuss someone’s uncompleted work.

But with forgivenesss, self-forgiveness, and happiness I don’t know how to do the work. I don’t how to make whatever it is. I know what faking it would look like and I know I don’t want to do that, though.

Posted in Pragmatism

Assume There’s A Solution

I’m taking the rest of the week off running. Two sessions in a row my shins hurt so bad I was wincing, cringing, my heart rate was higher than normal, I was sweating more than normal because I was in pain.

But rather than just stop for a week and hating myself for it I committed to foam rolling twice a day and I put in some research on recovery exercises for runners. I got some work outs for shin splints and tight hamstrings.

When I started working out I knew that I knew nothing so I had no problem researching everything. The vast majority of information out there is aimed at beginners because people giving advice are always talking about things they overcame. All advice is autobiographical.

And I still research all the time, when I have a problem or not. I wasn’t always this way though and it brings me to the subject of today’s sermon. I used to encounter problems and see them as confirmation that things weren’t going to work out and that I wasn’t good enough. Inadvertently I made everything in my life a test to prove I couldn’t do things.

In 2017 when I fucked up my knees by taking on running too hard too fast (another problem I’ve talked about – everything at once, all in or all out, hack the bone) I thought it proved that it was too late for me to be a runner and that was that. But I still had to get back to walking-capable again so I wound up solving it.

I still have my get started before you’re ready and be all in mentality. I’ve just paired it with immersive research along the way.

But it all lead me to a conclusion, a strategy, and I’ll use video games as an analogy. When you’re playing a video game and you come to weird wall with some switches, or a locked door that causes a character to say maybe there’s a key here somewhere, or a trap or boss fight – you assume there’s a solution. You get encouraged rather than discouraged as a first response. The task just got narrowed, that’s easier because it’s more specific. The over arching drive to save the kingdom means a lot of stuff but right now you just have to find a key or a way around or a weakness.

And in fitness it’s the same thing. Get Fit is a big dream-like plantasy (remember that word? A plan you fantasize about) but recover from injury is narrow, specific, researchable, and executable. Be grateful for the simplicity.

But don’t be grateful for the excuse. You’ll see lots of chaps run into a problem and then breathe a subtle sigh of relief. Watch yourself if you’re just looking for an explanation to stop trying.

Assuming there’s a solution can apply to everything in life. And that doesn’t mean there always will be – we will run into hopeless times – but assuming there’s a solution will make you tackle those hopeless times with momentum and motivation and by the time you figure out it was hopeless you’ll have learned, and grown, and moved on.

And sometimes the solution will be ugly and you gotta be ready for that. You may often feel humiliated in pursuit of your pride. But I’m gonna steal from myself and my What I Read This Month post for January and talk about Jocko’s mentality of Winning At All Costs.

Sometimes the cost is your ego, sometimes the cost of Winning At All Costs is having to give up your plan that you loved and do something else.

But assume there’s a win. Even if it’s ugly sometimes. Don’t sit around trying to figure out if the promised land is real or not, assume it is and assume your job is to figure out how to get there.

Posted in Depression & Suicide, fitness, Pragmatism

Music Makes Me Sad

At shows I just feel fucking bitter. I’m not really in touch with the part of me that used to love it. I hate being around people as an ex-musician, or not even an ex-musician – as an ex ex-musician.

That’s a paraphrased quote from Cheers, we talk about it a lot at work.

I have no identity when I go out now. I don’t have a new identity yet I’m still burdened by my old one and feel like I can’t just be a new or different person. Like everybody knows I’m a nobody.

There isn’t even that much to dig down and write about here, I just don’t like being at shows. I don’t even like being seeing posts about shows on Facebook, I get a painful little jolt whenever someone I used to know has something coming up. I miss being in a band so much it hurts.

The obvious retort is that I should form a new band but I didn’t actually form any bands. In fact I felt exactly this way before I was brought into Caught Off Guard and before Towelie’s efforts to keep HellCat Maggie afloat lead the creation of Greystone Gardens. I’m terrible with people, it takes me years to form any kind of low level relationship.

And in music I’m still terrible at being ambitious, at being businessy, at organizing instead of daydreaming.

I was thinking about it a lot the other day and said I used to make music for music sake, then I made music for art’s sake. With everything in my life now I do it for it’s own sake, blogging, running, gaming, whatever, and it’s easy to compromise – to keep moving forward at an obstacle – but art should never be compromised because then it ceases to be art. I don’t anything else in life being a product but I never wanted that for art, if it’s just a product why bother because if your music is just a product then you don’t matter. In music I knew people who were just desperate to be a cog.

But like I said before it’s those people, the people with no grand identity riding on everything that don’t burn out. They can’t care enough to feel betrayed.

I don’t mind blogging being a business, I don’t mind running being a fruitless passion, I don’t mind videogames being a time killer but I can’t bring myself to treat music as any of those things so it never gets done. I have lyrics in the song Ghost Life about how when you can’t do the thing you love you’re free to do all the things you like and it’s true. I just wish I didn’t have music and my ex-musician self hanging above everything I think.

Posted in Depression & Suicide, Songwriting

Sobriety Saturdays

Day 19 of sobriety.

At the end of week 2 I had the anticipated feeling that everything was going great, this is super easy, and I should celebrate. The celebration trap usually gets people at the two-week mark. You feel like you’ve proven your point, you’re fine.

But now I’m into week three and the boredom and the sugar cravings. My coffee habit has spiraled upward again too. With my body realizing it’s not going to get the dopamine hit of booze (as well as its high amount of sugar) I’m getting feelings of restlessness and joyless deprivation along with a targetless sense of wanting.

My reward pathway want booze but knows it’s not an option so it doesn’t know what it wants but it wants.

Last year this came out as shopping for books. And I know you’re like ha what a better problem to have but shut up because we’re talking about compulsive behaviour and these things should be taken seriously.

Book shopping (or whatever shopping addiction you want) is a great, satisfying work out for dopamine and the reward pathways. Dopamine is about searching, hoping, predicting, not about getting. Dopamine is up when the roulette wheel is spinning – it stops when the wheel stops win or lose. So going to the book store and looking around for hours, finding gems, looking in sections you’ve never checked before, it’s a candy store. That’s why I never end up buying books I intend to get – no search, no reward.

Metaphor round up this book store has roulette wheels and candy.

This year it seems to be work out stuff. I love comparing vitamins and protein powders and I can always use more kettlebells and now we have a dope doorway pull-up bar.

Plus with the increase is sugary foods that I’m eating the extra working out seems to maintain balance. And I’m still keeping the junk food to just the weekends so I can’t do too much damage.

I don’t really have any money right now anyway that I could be spending on booze so I can’t say if I’m saving much but I am seeing the start of a snow drift of tip money again.

Going out to a show tonight which is always weirder for other people than for sober me.

Posted in sobriety

Fitness Friday Random Update

Mostly I think about the Friday Fitness Blog these days. It’ll be live soon, the logo is getting finalized now and I’m holding back until it’s done so it comes out strong and as pro and polished as possible. I’ve been setting up Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and a YouTube for it as well. And linking all those together and remembering logins and all that is a fun little annoyance.

I know life isn’t about waiting for everything to be pro and polished and the spirit of punk rock and Austin Kleon and all that but I think the first post being the logo across all platforms at once is the statement I want to make. I want to feel like this project launched not just started. There’ll still be a lot of tidying up and learning curve after it’s going of course.

Other than that, Marathon training is going well. I ran for two hours on Sunday, did my runner’s leg day at the gym, and ran intervals Wednesday. My legs are fried but I know when to back off from the verge of unrecovery or injury.

Also in the gym I’m 5 pounds shy of my bench press goal (which is 145, a 45lb plate on either side of the 55lb bar). Luke Oliver insists it only counts if you touch the chest so that’s what I’m after. I didn’t want to risk it as exhausted as I was yesterday so I’l hit it fresh next week. I had a 35, a 5, and a 2.5 on either side down to the chest for one rep but I knew I’d already peaked for the day.

And we got a doorway pull up bar for the apartment.

And I’m training myself to eat a spoonful of marmite each day. If you know what that is you’re cringing but it’s a source of choline and b12. Take note vegans.

Still Sober and loving it.


Posted in Pragmatism

There’s a new blog a-coming!

I’m starting a professional health and fitness blog. Its called Friday Fitness. Why? I feel like as a reader of this blog you probably already get why.

It’s set up in secret right now and what will be the first posts have been drafted. The logo and art work is in the works now and then it goes live.

When I first wrote about running it came out of my writing about depression, which was mostly what this blog had been about, and I as I got more into the research and discovery of all things fitness I didn’t want to write about it too much and change the whole feel of the blog. With music as a metaphor again: it would be like if I suddenly started making electronic dance music after starting as folk acoustic. I said I’d write about my progress once a week and Fitness Friday was born.

But fitness became all I really thought about and the point of the blog was really to get whatever was on my mind off of it anyway so a lot of health related writing went up.

This blog will still be here and will even still contain some fitness stuff, as meandering thoughts which may or may not graduate up to the pro blog. If you’ve read and remember a lot of this blog you’ll even see some updated and clarified version of the fitness posts that have been on here so far on the Friday Fitness blog.

The tone of Friday Fitness will be different than here, I want it to be accessible to the internet equivalent of someone walking in off the street. On this blog I’ve had the tone of personal conversation with a small group, there’s no attempt to be neutral, and my dry sense of humour shows or fails to show through but it is there. With the new blog the goal is to write like there’s a big audience that doesn’t know who I am.

So with all that said I’ll put a bit of work where my mouth is and give a sample of one the first posts for Friday Fitness titled Nitric Oxide:

You want it. It gives you good blood flow.

Including to your genitals, making sex better.

But also for athletics and stuff. So how do you get it? Well not from L-Arginine supplements. According to this study they don’t help. Now, it’s been pointed out by the great Lisa Monsconi that when nutrients get tested they often get tested in such control and isolation that we don’t know how they may be interacting with other nutrients and foods but it doesn’t look good for the thirty dollar jar of powder I saw the other day.

And it turns out you don’t want to get your L-Arginine from animal protein. It carries increased risk of metabolic syndrome. So plant sources it is:

Pumpkin Seeds. Everything I’ve looked up in the last year has had pumpkin seeds on the list. Pumpkin seeds for the win.

Also Peanuts, Spinach, Spirulina (because spirulina has everything if you’re willing to shell out fifty bucks a jar), and Lupini beans (which I’ve also never heard of).

Nitric Oxide can also be made, but not as well, by L-Citrulline. So get your watermelon on.

And of course you want vegetable sources of nitrates like arugula and beets. Meat sources of nitrates = bad apparently. Damn you vegans for often being right!

So a spinach and arugula salad with lupini beans, watermelon, and various seeds and nuts and you’re ready for a marathon… of any kind.

Posted in Pragmatism

Sobriety Binge Day 12

So two things of note:

One, I gave myself some permissions with sugar. Of all kinds, french fries to dairy milks, yesterday. Not too different from a normal Friday but my thought process was the menu’s totally open because I can’t possibly dig as deep a hole as a night of drinking. Which is true. But it occurred to me that my highest priority is still mood boosting and mood stability so jerking my blood sugar around might still qualify as doing more harm than good.

So I can loosen the reigns because I’ve got health-meter to play with maybe I still shouldn’t. On the upside I can already see the skin effects of sobriety kicking in, the skin of my face is richer and fuller, less sunken and dry, because it’s getting water and oxygen which alcohol typically blocks.

And two, I’ve still been socializing. It’s important not to fall into the trap of not drinking means not socializing. Sobriety isn’t about staying home for 4 months. I’ve dipped out early both times I’ve been out to parties because I no longer have the social endurance booze grants but I’ve made the rounds and had fun and met people, which is actually something that, as alcohol becomes a stronger and stronger habit, stops happening. Real drunks drink the same people over and over and over again.

But what I think is different about me than someone else getting sober is don’t think of myself as getting sober, I’m just sober. Period.

Quitting smoking is my go-to example. People think that quitting smoking is the intermediate step between smoking and being quit. First you’re smoking, then you’re quitting smoking (and you tell everyone I’m quitting smoking every time you smoke), then at some point you don’t smoke.

It doesn’t work.

When I quit smoking (ten years ago roughly) I did it like I do everything: all at once and being a dick about it. I flipped the switch from I smoke to I don’t smoke and that was it.

You can’t be tempted by something if the answer’s always No. If the answer is Maybe then eventually the answer is Yes. Sometimes will mean all the time. Cutting back will mean binging and waiting to binge, and finding tons of reasons to binge, to celebrate or because it was a tough day or whatever. If tough days mean you allow yourself access to whatever you’re quitting you’ll find that gosh you suddenly have a shocking amount of tough days.

Or things to celebrate. I knew a guy who blew off a sobriety binge in the first week because his brother got a job.

Either way it’s about manufacturing things that are more important than the duration of your abstinence from whatever vice.

But when it comes to events like parties, weddings, tough days, whatever, that’s the test. That’s the point. You don’t run a marathon and then blame the course for being really long. This is what you came to see – if you can celebrate, or mourn, or socialize – without booze. And if you can’t then yes, you are less-than, you have failed.

With all things in life I see so many people who summarize a challenge as basically I was doing great until I cracked at the first sign of pressure. I was strong enough until something requiring strength came up.



Ah, all at once and be a dick about it, that’s me.

Posted in sobriety