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Yoga Days 9 & 10: Rant, Double-Down and the Dizzy

December 16th, 2010 No comments

First off I’d like to apologize to the folks who are probably getting tired of my yoga ramblings and are yearning for one of my typical idiotic postings talking about food or pop culture or some other drivel. Don’t worry, I’ve got a stack of material I need to address over the next several postings, so the idiocy will return!

As a lot of my readers/friends know, my life is in a sort of upheaval right now. It is what it is and I’m working through it step by step. One of the main reasons I started doing yoga ten days ago was as a result of these life changes. I’m really not that good at taking care of myself and that had to change.

Luckily for me, the process is in motion and yoga has really proven to be the pivot point around which I am changing my life. I quit smoking about two and a half weeks ago. Yeah, I know I’ve said that before — on this very blog even — but this one has the best chance of sticking that I’ve tried yet.

Usually when I make the move to quit I have a couple of days where everything is really good and then something goes awry. This time, I rode the anxiety pony for a week to keep me occupied. In midst of that I decided to sign up for yoga.

By the time I started yoga I was to the point where I usually start wanting a smoke again. I didn’t ever smoke an awful lot, it was just something I did when I hung out with friends. Once class began, though, the thought of a smoke sounded just about as appealing as drinking concrete.

I quickly realized that I had some work to go with my breathing capacity and breathing is a huge part of yoga. Different than previous quitting efforts, my brain is in 100% now. The thought of sucking down a few smokes while hanging out and then getting up early to do yoga makes me nauseous. This is the type of progress that makes me feel better about myself.

OK, now down to the nitty gritty. Yesterday was a hard day for me. My usual Wednesday has been a ritual practice for many years: a ritual that I have changed in the past couple of weeks, so the old anxiety pony was riding up on me hard on Wednesday for some reason. I went to class Wednesday morning (a Fire 60) and did pretty well. There was nothing too remarkable about it except that Fire continues to be the hardest class I have taken.

Amazingly, yesterday was also gorgeous. When it is almost 80 degrees in the middle of December, one must take advantage of it. Since it had been a while, and because it often helps reduce my anxiety, I took the scooter out for a nice ride. I went around the lake, I rode through Deep Ellum: that pony was still with me. That’s when it hit me: there is a Earth 60 class at 4:15. Dare I pull the double so early in my practice? Sure, why not!

Earth is one of my favorite classes. I can really feel it moving the energies around my body lifting away my worries and helping me to center myself. I know that sounds like a lot of New Age hokum, but it works for me. Part of me making myself “better” is tricking my brain into new behaviors.

I’ll tell you this about the double, that second class seems a lot easier. I was bending deeper into poses and my muscles were actually participating in what I wanted to do (not always the case). Sure, I still seem to lose track of my left from my right in class (stupid shiny mirrors are distracting. I’m like a parakeet that way), but it was a great class. I went to bed last night feeling victorious with myself.

Then came this morning.

This morning was my tenth class at Sunstone, so I decided to take a Fire 90. Luckily for me, the instructor who taught my intro classes was the instructor for this class. As a part of Sunstone’s program, practitioners are rewarded with different colored silicon bracelets when they reach milestones. The tenth class is one such milestone, so I got my band at the beginning of class. As cheezy as it sounds, it was a very fulfilling experience. Then came the yoga.

When I got up this morning I was a bit dizzy (not even sure why), but I thought it would all be ironed out when I got into the room. Boy howdy was I wrong. I did great through the first quarter of the standing poses, but any time I did anything to compress my chest, thus pushing blood into my head, the dizzies got worse and worse. I was getting frustrated with myself and made up my mind to push myself rather than take to the floor in savasana. About twenty seconds after that decision, I mentally smacked myself. That is exactly the type of “old” thinking that I was trying to break. Was I trying to hurt myself? Was I trying to prove to myself that I was “tough?” Idiocy is something that I excel at; and something I’m trying to reduce in my life. Savasana it was. I rested and focused on my breathing through a couple of poses and then got back up and re-joined the class.  This continued several more times through the standing series. Rather than get upset with myself, I reminded myself that every day is different and each practice cannot compare with the previous. Another small victory for me and my self-rebellious brain.

The seated positions were much easier (aside from my usual issues).  Part of me thinks that I probably over-worked myself by pulling a double yesterday, but this is all a learning experience.

A small part of me wanted to go to a Wood 60 class this afternoon, but I thought better of it. I’ve committed to a year with Sunstone, and there is absolutely no need for me to burn out like a meteorite hitting the atmosphere in my first month. I will push/reward myself with doubles (that’s really the only way to sanely think about them) as my practice improves. Kinda like an ice cream sundae topped with three quarts of sweat.

Namaste bitches!

Categories: Uncategorized

Season of “Evil” Spirits

October 29th, 2010 No comments

OK, OK, so I’ve been more than delinquent with posting lately. Sue me.

I’d like to say I’ve been busy, and I really have been, but I don’t see that as a valid excuse to not keep writing. To be fair, it’s very hard to type out a long missive on an iPhone with a beer in one hand at 11:30PM in a bar. There, that’s my excuse, I’ve turned into a lush.

Wait, I pretty much already was one, and that is what brings me to tonight’s message.

I’m a huge beer fan. My big “scheme” about two years ago to lose a lot of weight for a contest at work was to stop drinking Guinness on Tuesday nights after my soccer games and to switch to Bud Light. That’s a big damn switch and Bud Light has a lot more alcohol than Guinness, so I had to pace myself a lot more. Guess what? It freakin’ worked! With the small step of switching to Bud Light and moving from the forward position to playing defense on the pitch, I managed to drop almost 20 pounds in the first month. Sure, I switched up my disgusting eating habits, but the bulk was just playing more aggressively and drinking shitty beer.

Like I said, I drink a lot of beer.

This past year, however, I have developed quite the taste for whiskey. It’s probably because I’m growing older and quickly coming up on those “hair grows out your ears” years, but the good ol’ brown water makes me happy as hell now.

Typically I like Jameson on the rocks (Dewers tastes like wet flannel to me), but I took a tad of a jump today.

Back in my punk rock days at Baylor University I knew this fantastic gentleman who rocked some serious dreadlocks and played in a couple of pretty awesome punk bands by the name of Jared. Jared was very soft-spoken, but was always around with his crew of miscreant Christian punks. Jared’s involvement in the youth programs that grew up in the Waco area were astonishing and all of us figured he would eventually find a great life as a missionary; reaching out to the dysfunctional and outcast.

It turns out, Jared went a slightly different route and hooked up with a crew of guys starting a distillery in Waco by the name of Balcones Distillery.

My brother, who art in Austin (that just sounded appropriate), had mentioned that Jared was doing this sort of thing a year or so ago, but I thought it a hobby. Lo and behold, I see this tiny distillery on Zane Lamprey’s new show on HDnet and it piqued my interest.

Today I ran out to the only place I know of in Dallas that carries the Balcones line of fine alcohol and picked up their Baby Blue whiskey and their “Rumble.”

I’ll address the Rumble first just because it’s so unique. A blend of local wildflower honey and mission figs, Rumble comes off more like a tequila in its flavor profile, but, despite my typical aversion to tequila, was quite the tasty bevvy.

If you are shooting Rumble then you are wasting your time and everyone who had a hand in its creation’s time. This stuff demands to be sipped and savored. It’s strong as all hell, but has a great finish. I’ll not be drinking Rumble every day, but I’m definitely sharing it with my tequila/whiskey crossover friends. Hell, it might even end up in the stocking of many of my drinking friends. The big kicker is that there, handwritten on the bottle, were my old buddy’s initials indicating that he drew the bottle himself. Small freakin’ world.

The Baby Blue is a very distinct whiskey. I typically try to avoid corn-based whiskeys just because they seem to have a flavor to me that reminds me of that Tootsie Roll you let fall down between the seats in your car a couple of years ago. So many distilleries muck up their product with carmel coloring and flavoring these days and it makes me nuts.

This stuff was right damn tasty. I’m sure this bottle will go way before the Rumble does, and I’ll replace it when it does. Happy liquor makes for happy monkeys.

So, as the season of the witch decends upon us, gather up your minions and seek out this tiny distillery from Waco that makes some tasty tasty corn squeezins. Next time I’m down that direction, I’m going to seek out a couple of their other products (namely their scotch) that I can’t find here in Dallas. It’s whiskeylicious.

Categories: Uncategorized

Friday Playlist #6

February 12th, 2010 No comments

Oh crap, it’s a snow day. Rather than go with a “Genius” (is it me or does Apple throw that around a bit too loosely?) generated playlist for today, I’m going for shuffle again. Instead of limiting the selection to my paltry 60 GB iPod, however, I am going to run the shuffle from the 232.09 GB library I have on my main workstation at home. There are tracks on here that absolutely no one listens to; not even the artist who made them. Well, I might as well get my painful death over with.

1. Brick – Dazz
According to my tracklisting information this is the number 41 single from 1977. While I was alive in 1977, I really don’t remember hearing this song. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard this song. Apparently, “Dazz” is a shortening of “Disco Jazz.” My life is complete now.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas – Making Christmas
Damn I love me some “Nightmare.” It saddens me that Jack Skellington and crew have been co opted by the Hot Topic crowd. That’s just my bitter old “cool” guy coming out. After seeing this movie for about twelve times, Oingo Boingo became really really funny to me. Trust me, you won’t be able to unhear that one.

3. Jon Snodgrass & Corry Branan – Designated Drinker
This is a live track from 3 Kings (not sure where) from November 9, 2007. I’m pretty sure someone sent this to me when they figured out I was a Drag The River fan. It’s humorous and drunken, but I see why I haven’t listened to this one before as well. It does have a genius line in it, though: “The only time anything got in my pants on tour was when fire ants invaded my bunk.” That’s just plain ‘ol good writing.

4. Sigur Rós – Staralfur
Like all Sigur Rós, this is yet another epic song. I find it very relaxing to put on Sigur Rós when I’m working through the middle of the night as it magically aligns my thinking for some odd reason. I’ve always believed that Iceland really is the place where gnomes and frost giants lived out in the open; Sigur Rós just reinforces this belief.

5. Misfits – Abominable Dr. Phibes
I have way more Misfits tracks in my library than I probably should, but, every time I go for a shuffle (yeah, I’m trying to coin that one), it always comes up with a track from American Psycho. I think my computer isn’t a Misfits fan and this is how it’s punishing me. That shit is just mean.

6. Bauhaus – Telegram Sam
I think it’s downright hilarious to hear Peter Murphy belt out this Bowie standard. In my mind, Pete’s skin is cracking off of his face as he jumps around the studio in the damn burgundy velvet suit he’s been wearing for the past twenty-five years. This is actually a pretty good cover, but I have a horribly overactive imagination and Peter Murphy is really just a mannequin.

7. The Clash – Janie Jones
Of all the older “punk” bands I listen to, I probably identify with The Clash the most. To me, they are my Beatles (other than the Beatles themselves). I hear their sound in hundreds of other bands, but don’t find their work to be cheap and fake because it derives from the alpha source. The Clash is a building block. Yeah, that’s deep.

8. Foo Fighters – Hell
I’m actually sort of surprised this was in my library. I like Dave Grohl and Co., but I didn’t think I had anything. Here’s a quandary for you. Technically Foo Fighters has always been a “supergroup,” but never really referred to as such. Just because it’s members didn’t achieve financial stardom in their previous efforts, does a band made up of people who came from rather influential bands not get to be a “supergroup?”

9. ABBA – If It Wasn’t For The Nights
Yup, the library finally went to the weird place. I grew up on ABBA, so I find nothing ironic about them other than the obvious hilarity of disco in Sweden. If anything, that damn movie/musical Mama Mia ruined ABBA. This shit is gold.

10. Lagwagon – Give it Back
Lagwagon are horribly under-appreciated. The few times squeezle and I have seen either Lagwagon or Joey Cape by himself have been some of the most fun live shows we’ve ever attended. Sadly, it appears that Lagwagon has now drifted apart and won’t be putting out new material anytime in the foreseeable future, but Joey’s solo shows are a good mix of his solo stuff and the best of Lagwagon. Ironically, the last time I saw Joey Cape, he was playing with Jon Snodgrass.

11. Face To Face – Fight or Flight
For years and years I wanted to see Face To Face live, but never got the opportunity. Then they went and broke up and dashed my hopes against the rocks of bitter regret. Luckily for me, they’ve reformed and I was able to see them at Fun Fun Fun Fest this past November in Austin. Holy freakin’ crap can these guys tear shit up. Now, they are working on new material, so that, to me, means tour. Maybe next time I can see them play without being soaked to the bone.

12. Black Flag – Damaged I
Ahh, ancient Black Flag. This is about as scaled down as Black Flag ever was. Henry Rollins doesn’t even sound like himself on this track even though it is indeed him and not Keith Morris, Dez Cadena or Ron Reyes. This song has the distinction of being the first writing credit Hank got with Black Flag. I’m not sure why I remember that, but it’s yet another useless tidbit that’s been stuck in my head for years.

13. The The – Kingdom of Rain
The The is one of those bands that cause people to go “Oh, that song?” I can seriously not think of another band who vary so much record to record. It probably has something to do with the fact that frontman Matt Johnson is batshit crazy. This particular track is from their record Mind Bomb. At this point in time, The The consisted of ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Nick Lowe’s bassist James Eller and the drummer from ABC: David Palmer. However, Matt Johnson is almost always considered the only “official” member of The The.

14. The Cherry Cokes – Ill Weeds Grow Apace
I’ve professed my love for the Cherry Cokes before. This track, in particular, cracks me up because it really sounds like a lost Mighty Mighty Bosstones track to me. If you imagine that the vocals are a really drunken Dicky Barrett rather than a Japanese guy singing Irish punk, it’s pretty damn convincing. The Cherry Cokes prove that you can find a little bit of everything in Japan.

15. Bob Marley – Trenchtown Rock
I really thought I’d deleted all of my Marley tracks. I’ve got nothing against the guy, but his music has really turned into frat rock over the years. I realize that this is entirely in my head, but it just brings up memories of terrible college parties and terrible weed. Bob deserves better.

Get the duck out of Dodge

December 30th, 2009 No comments

As has been previously documented, I’m not too fond of the holidays. I love my family, but it has been a hard year and some non-Christmasy downtime was required for sanity purposes.

That being said, squeezle and I spent our fabulous December 25th in sunny San Diego, California. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to expound upon in later postings, but I was reminded by something at the San Diego Wild Animal Park on Sunday: I have an odd fascination with being bitten by waterfowl while on vacation.

No, despite my lack of most morals, this isn’t a sexual thing. When I’m on the road I like to taunt all matter of aquatic avians to take a crack at chomping on me with wild abandon.

It really started on one of our last trips to Disneyworld (yeah, we’re thatkind of weirdo). In a prosecco and beer fueled frenzy (it was Food & Wine Festival season, after all), I managed to get “beaked” by both a male and female mallard as well as some sort of ibis.

Rather than collapse in pain (potentially garnering oodles of cash from the Disney machine), I laughed my ass off and got yet another of my stupid ideas.

So, there I was, a couple of beers into a pretty damn good day around a bunch of animals I could relate to (and the squeezle) and I was faced with a trio of geese who were obviously trying to sleep and ignore the pair of us. I, of course, launch into my approach. It’s horribly easy if you’d like to follow along at home:

  1. Address your waterfowl of choice to make your presence known.
  2. Take one step closer to said waterfowl.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 as needed until beaked.

My intention is never to stress the bird out. The goose who chomped on me in San Diego had been sleeping and was standing on one foot. At the point of impact, he (she, it, etc.) never bothered to put down that second foot and actually tuckered into its wing after masticating me. If that’s not the sign of a non-threatened bird, I’m not sure what is.

I love animals; especially birds. I don’t ever want this to be misconstrued as something done with malicious intent, but, rather, merely for my own amusement. I like to think that my target bird gets a sense of fulfilment from taking a swipe at me without me retaliating in some manner. After thousands of sticky, nasty children potentially provide such horribly undo stress, it’s my public duty to be nature’s punching (or biting) bag.

That emu, however, had better stay the hell away from me.

Categories: Uncategorized