Today’s work out – chest, back, shoulders and a bit of all over…

Today I did this work out: Work out F in my series of A-F workouts.

Here’s what was in it:

Wide grip chin ups

Cable cross over chest flyes

Combination dumbbell lat raise with overhead press

Bent over rows

Power clean to squat to overhead press (prob not the technical name for it but its a combination of power clean to get the bar up then a squat press then bar goes overhead).

23 May 2017

Book Review – Trespassing Across America by Ken Ilgunas

Hi Bloggers, if you’ve been following anything I’ve blogged about, you know I like to read books. I literally inhaled a couple over my long weekend. I read Trespassing Across America over a couple of days. It’s a great read.

First thing I’ll say about this is that the author is most definitely a poet. His words roll off the pages, like a grassy undulating field on the wide big sky prairie that he is trundling across. With aching hips, and blistered toes, every step is a challenge in this man’s quest for, I don’t know exactly what. There! Did you see how I did that – made the start of this paragraph poetic? That’s what this author does, but its just magic. I read a couple of paragraphs to a friend and it was sure appreciated.

SAM_2765

Anyway, the book is based on the author’s experience which starts in a dishwashing job in the middle of the north slope, Alaska, on an oil field camp. He describes it as shitty, because, well, it is. But that sets his mind in motion, and provides him with enough of a disdain for the oil industry that he’s ready to get out and make a kind of a statement-slash-personal journey of it.

What I like about the read is his endearing honesty. He’s no super hero, athlete, enviro-warrior or whatever, he’s just a regular guy with a half-baked idea, and is told by a lot of people how it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, and he gets off his arse, and gets it done. I think that’s awesome. Really. Along the way he meets a ton of people, gets interviewed by CBC, and a number of other media outlets, runs a blog from his I-pad, and gets a bunch of help along the way. He even ended up on one of those late night talk shows.

I really appreciate his writing style, and sense of humour, and really think that this is a great read. I don’t do stars, but if I did, this would get 4 and 1/2, no bullshit.

Enjoy this book if you can get your mitts on it!

 

.

Gettin’ my bell rung in Winterset, Iowa. The birthplace of John Wayne… a photo essay.

Hi Bloggers,

So this weekend I was lucky enough to get to see the birthplace of none other than John Wayne. This guy: you might recognise him.

Image result for John Wayne Quotes
So the town of Winterset is where he was born. Here is his house:
SAM_2618
SAM_2589
Howdy pilgrims…

But there were other sights in the town too, like this ultra creepy haunted house looking place. Deserted, empty, spooky as shit.

SAM_2628SAM_2639

SAM_2634
Take a seat, it will be dark out here soon… nothing to worry about….

And here’s some of the town:

 

SAM_2603
More epic architecture. I give Iowan’s credit, when they build something they really ‘go big’, and fancy!

 

 

SAM_2610
I rang the bell. Yes its real, it works and its loud! Donnnnnnnggggggg! 

SAM_2616

 

A Letter from America

Hi Bloggers.

So I’m committed to not getting into posts about religion or politics. It’s just not worth it with the vast array of viewpoints and opinions. As a disclaimer, I respect other’s opinions and right to express themselves in any way they want. I don’t have to agree with them and vice versa. Wonderful. Ok, so with that out the way, I want to write about America, and more importantly Americans.

I am Canadian. Born in a Australia, still Australian, but am now Canadian, and have a passport that says so. Canadians – generally polite, moderate, friendly, welcoming, and a bunch of other things that are normally considered good. Most people in the world would agree to that – unless you have some other bias regarding religion, freedom of belief and association or whatever. I will add that Canada is a very diverse community. Really, there are ALL types in our great country.

Americans, ok. I’m going to say it, put it out there… bear with me please. Unfortunately, our American friends are  subject to prejudice from others. I know this, because being a non-American, and having been in different parts of the world, Americans get a lot of shit.

SAM_1911I am even going to say, somewhat ashamed, that I may have even personally contributed to the whole American opinion thing in conversations in the past. Ok, before you smash your computer screen or unfollow me – let me finish my rant. Why would the other citizens of the world think and talk like this? Essentially, its ignorance and a lack of experience in, well, America and Americans.

Think about this for a minute – America is projected onto the world’s media supply – good and bad, in copious amounts. Music, movies, politics, religious zealots, financial markets, big business, and a LOT of other influences. So here in lies the problem. If that is what is being projected, what are the citizens of the world supposed to think?

Let me tell you, the impression is that America is full of red-neck, gun shooting, gang affiliated, political extremists, black lives matterists, cops who shoot people, white supremacists, bat shit crazy stuff and Hollywood stars that can’t stay married or top themselves. Ok, if you are American and swearing at your monitor screen, please stick with me I am not the enemy! 

SAM_2543

Ok, this is where it’s a little unfair. I want to set the record straight. I’ve been in America literally dozens of times. I’ve never been shot. Never been car jacked. Never been mugged. Never seen a radical (or even a republican) politician up close. Never been to a political rally. Never seen anyone do any crazy weird shit that ends up on some of the tv shows that promote this stuff.

What I have seen is a lot of beautiful countryside and landmarks. The people are generally exceedingly friendly and gracious and hospitable. I can say without reservation that Americans are some of the most warm hearted friendly people on earth. What I’m saying is I think this country suffers from an image problem.

It’s not to say that some of the reputation that this country has is unwarranted, no. The reality is that there are some messed up things about America. There is a lot of poverty. A lot of the cities are run down and crime is a serious factor. There are many places that I would choose not to go. There are places that I have felt unsafe due to the people on the street. Having said that, I can guarantee you there are a lot of places I would choose not to hang around in Canada and Australia too. In America, all those elements I mentioned above, they do exist. But that’s not the full picture.

When you are in America, you will appreciate why Americans seem to lack knowledge about the wider world. This is a general statement, so please don’t shoot me down. American media is all about America. Typical ‘world’ news in America is normally about stories where America is directly represented or a major subject of the story. World news elsewhere has nothing to do with America. So if all your media exposure and education growing up was about America, you can’t be expected to know a lot about the world at large.

However, there are exceptions. I have met a lot of Americans that have travelled the world. I have met Americans with left-wing liberal politics. Some who are gay, and some who hate their current administration. Then the other side of the equation is represented too. The right wing conservative set. Depending on where you are, these types are much more widely represented.

Let me finish this rant by saying this. There is no one singular America, or American. It’s a very large country with lots of diverse lifestyles and opinions. It’s a great place to visit and if you come here you will be made feel welcome providing you respect the law and other’s rights and opinions.

As Simon and Garfunkel sang… “I’ve come to look for America….” What a beautiful concept!

 

Collecting firewood – North East BC

So I used to live in north east British Columbia. We had a wood stove. Lots of times, often on weekends, we would collect firewood from the bush. I had a chainsaw, and we’d jump in the work truck with the kids and dog and head out in search of a decent log to cut up. Often I would split it right there too. Its hard work but enjoyable at the same time.

P1000397
LV33 was my truck. I drove this thing up and down the mountain to go to work.

 

On this day it was very cold. So quiet too. Well away from any hustle and bustle. You can hear yourself think. Apart from the chainsaw noise, that is. I like the bush in BC. Its wild and remote, and has a lot of wildlife. Its a place where you can still find adventure and solitude. There are many walking trails and its one of those really un-trodden places in the world. All the tourists are hitting Jasper and Banff, and right here in the northern rockies foothills we have a thriving natural playground to explore.

P1000403

We lived up here for more than five years. It was a nice time in our lives.

P1000406

P1000394
Beaver dams.

 

Camping at Bear Hole Lake, BC

So here’s a some pictures of where I went camping a few years ago. Just me and my daughter, then about 7 years old, and our dog. I had a rifle right by the tent, because, well, its bear country. It was a nice trip all round. Fond memories. The area is quite remote. We were the only people there. Just us, and a little tent, and the wilderness.

P1000613

Lately I’ve been thinking about doing the getting away from it all thing – hike in camping, that sort of thing. On this trip we drove in. Its a logging road, and can be treacherous because the conditions can change. I recall it being pretty cut up from recent rains and trucks driving on it. Its one of those situations where you hope it doesn’t rain because you might not be getting out…. Hope you enjoy.

P1000629
Rifle resting on tree stump near tent….

P1000617

 

Note to Self – Positive Reflections

So in dealing with the current situation we are all in (life), there are challenges, there are ups and downs, and there are people who help us and people who hinder us in our journey.

I believe, its all about attitude. There are no perfect situations. There will always be aches and pains, or a problem with money, or a relationship that is not what you had hoped for. What matters, is how we deal with the situations that are presented to us.

So I write a lot. Often times those writings are hand written call outs for the things I need to be more aware of, where I need to pay more attention, or what I need to let go of. Often these writings are accompanied by a flow chart, or a silly graph or some illustration that makes sense to me in a humorous or semi serious way. I’m guilty of chuckling to myself at my own wittiness. 

Sometimes those writings are shared with the people that are close to me. Sometimes those writings cause some upset or discomfort, because I may have been harsh, or made people closest to me aware of where I felt they had a shortcoming. I can be very direct and analytical and that can perhaps come out as a directive or shit-list of stuff that might be a bit too strong for the situation – which is often a reflection of my intense feelings about a subject.

 :

So recently I wrote some notes to myself. They are both affirmations of my intentions, and also blunt callouts of my failures or habits. I want to change, and I am determined to remain aware of those important intentions in my interactions with others. I read my notes each day. Perhaps some would see this as a little obsessive, but the reality is that my future is at stake, and I want to do better. So far, I’m happy to say that these notes to self feel like they are having a positive effect.

Tattoo Stories 2 – Oni Mask, chest piece.

So anyone who has been reading my stuff would realise that I’m into tattoos. I’ve often said that if I had the time and the money, I’d be getting tattooed. So this story is about my oni mask that I had tattooed on my chest.

I have travelled quite a bit, and in times gone by it was not unusual for me to plan a trip, and to make sure that getting tattooed in some place was on the agenda. This time I was in Chicago. The windy city. I found a shop called Deluxe Tattoo. Often I would do a bit of research and have a look at artist profiles and book ahead to confirm my spot. It just happens, by coincidence that this is the shop that Hannah Atchison works out of – she was featured as one of the artists in LA Ink. She mentioned in the show that she was from Chi town. I used to watch this show when I was in Australia. I knew all the people on the show who were tattooing, but at the time I never imagined that I could end up in Chicago getting tattooed.

So she did not tattoo me, and that’s not why I was there, but it was a bit surreal to be getting tattoed and look over, and there she was, in the flesh only 15 ft from where I was getting inked. But this story isn’t about her.

I rode the El train from down town to the leafy northern suburb to where the shop is located. I think I had to change trains in there somewhere. The lines are all colour coded like the ‘red line’, and the ‘blue line’. i’m sure at some point I had to go from an underground subway to an elevated train line, so that was an interesting experience – just finding my way out of one and onto another.

But this story has a kind of a precursor. I had been tattooed some time before this and got two birds on my chest. If you look closely you can see the bird embedded in the tattoo. I have a sort of matching left one and a right one. These are some of my favourite tattoos, because one represents a kind of goodness (angelic?) and one is badness (devilish?), because I can be both! Ok, enough symbolic bullshit I know you really don’t care. Oni mask tattoo (2)

So the birds were done in Tucson AZ. It was eassssssy tattooing. I think maybe each one took an hour or something. Being kind of high up on the chest, they were not too painful, and the tattooist used a sort of noiseless tattoo gun. So in a way, that set me up for some over-confidence when it came to pain thresholds etc. Now, when it comes to tattooing, I’ve sat for a LOT of hours. Perhaps not like some of the ink-freaks out there but I’ve done many hours. It sucks. It hurts. I got a piece on my lower torso/hip (my first), and that was extreme pain.

So – now we come to the oni mask on my chest. I got it stenciled out, etc, all good. Lie down on the tattooist table, and ready, here we go. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THIS IS PAINFULL. No, I mean like really, like we are talking the uppermost pain bracket there is. Within seconds of the first line going down, I almost quit. Yes, me who has done many  many hours, almost quit. I ALMOST picked up my handbag and heels, and sashayed out of there, like a big girl. But I didn’t. And while I’m at it, chicks are tough ok, they get tattooed too. No disrespect.

I gritted my teeth, made funny faces, tried not to freak out, and braced every damn time that needle was on the skin. I couldn’t believe it. Not sure if it was the time since being tattooed, the location (anywhere on the torso is worse), or that it was on the left side (there is a difference in sensation apparently). Either way it took a lot to stick with it.

After about an hour or more, I got a break. I remember going to the bathroom and needing to hold on to the rail, I was feeling rather seasick. The floor was no longer horizontal and flat, it seemed to roll like the deck of a large boat on a heavy swell.

Anyway, I got through it, and I’m glad I did. that’s the thing about tattooing, once its done, it doesn’t wash off. More to come, readers….

Postcard from Gibsons, BC

Hi Bloggers,

I had the opportunity to travel to Gibsons, BC. Now if you’ve never heard of Gibsons, you might have seen it. If you ever saw the CBC long running drama called Beachcombers then you would have seen Gibsons, because it was the setting for all the adventures of a little BC coastal town where everyone drives a boat and the big industry is timber.

If you’re not familiar, but are vaguely interested, or want to have a look because you remember this show on TV, here’s a link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beachcombers

So I went to Molly’s Reach, the diner in the TV show. I can remember, as a kid, growing up in Australia, this show would come on in the afternoon. Now it felt a WHOLE WORLD away from my place as a kid, so you could imagine the sense of surrealism as I munched on fish and chips at the original Molly’s Reach. It hasn’t changed much at all.

You can also see the Phersephone – the boat that was featured in the show. It’s on the main street as a kind of memorial or whatever.

Its a cute little town, artsy, and really picturesque. I hope you enjoy the photos…