[photo post] A Long Weekend

Well over a week late but here are some photos from our recent long weekend going to see the Aquabats at Bogart’s in Cincinnati and hitting the eastern wing of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Our stops included:

As always, if you’re interested in seeing a bigger selection of photos in high-res, check out my Flickr account. Otherwise, here are a few I picked out for the blog:

The Road to Bluegrass 7/24

They say if you want to learn how to write better dialogue you should listen to more people having conversations. Hearing the way people talk is helpful for anyone wanting to write the way people actually speak but it’s also a great way to learn how to communicate with people. And if you’re going to communicate with people or write characters based on them, you’d may as well take in their appearance. Round out their personality with their body language and other physical characteristics. You know…Watch the people. I love watching people walk around at hockey games as they juggle full cups of shitty beer and hot dogs. I love watching people walking into and out of Wal-Mart with the smell of Subway and inbred musk in the air. I love sitting on a bench on the strip in Gatlinburg and just watching people walk by as they look in the shops.

I just love watching people.

We live on the top of a very small hill under some very not-small trees. You can imagine that this can be both entertaining and terrifying during extreme weather. If the wind blows even a little bit our trees clap their hands together in an applause that sounds more like the Ragnarok than a warm summer breeze. It’s even more ominous if it’s dark out or if a thunderstorm is blowing in. If it rains really hard, sometimes a small stream will form in our neighbor’s back yard that runs down beside our house, across our front yard and rests as an improvised pond in our other neighbor’s yard. When it snows, the incline on our street is just enough so that most people can’t make it by our driveway. They’ll spin their tires, sometimes twisting their cars sideways until they make it. Other times they just roll backward, park in the street and start walking home. It’s entertaining to watch these things from my window. It’s entertaining to see trees blowing, the streams forming and the cars sliding.

I just love looking out my windows.

To the point where Erin calls me Neighborhood Watch and I ain’t even mad about it.

Considering my passion for people watching and my fascination with what goes on outside my house, it should surprise no one that I was particularly interested when I woke up one day last week — 6:30am — to hear my neighbors across the road yelling at each other. I’ve heard them fight before but there was a certain tone in this argument I’d never heard in the past so I rolled out of bed to get a view of what was going down.

I watched the argument unfold, most of which consisted of incoherent yelling. Over the next ten minutes I watched a man fill up the trunk of a car, load two women into the passenger and back seats, then drive off. An angry woman was now the sole resident of the home and she stormed back in the house, slamming the door behind her.

During the argument, I noticed her car was parked in the yard. Something they’d never really done before. Since then, the car comes and goes but when it parks at the house, it’s always in the yard, right by the front door. She literally pulls her car up to the front door of her home every single day.

The running plan continued last week as I totaled 13 miles for the week and averaged a 12:26/mile pace. My total mileage for the program is currently 58 miles with an average pace of 12:23/mile. I’m honestly not thrilled with my pace. Especially after I did some figuring to determine what pace I’ll need to be running to hit my goal finish time when the end of September rolls around.

I’m basically a full minute off. That’s a lot. Jesus, I miss training for my first half when the only goal I had was survive.

Anyway, this is week 8 and it looks like this:

  • Monday: 5:45am Boxing at TITLE
  • Tuesday: 3 Mile run; 7:00 Boxing at TITLE
  • Wednesday: 4 Mile TEMPO run
  • Thursday: 3 Mile run
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Cross-training (details below); 9:30am Kickboxing at TITLE
  • Sunday: 7 Mile run

Cross-Training — Phase 5, Week 6: Back, Tris, Calves, Hams

  • Top of the Mountain Warmup: Spin bike, 8 minutes; stretch
  • Pull-Ups Set 1: 5 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 1: Dumbbells, 35% weight, 10 reps, 60s rest
  • Pull-Ups Set 2: 6 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 2: Repeat circuit 1, 60s rest
  • Pull-Ups Set 3: 8 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 3: Repeat circuit 1, 3m rest
  • Circuit 4: Barbells, 90% weight, 5 reps, 60s rest
  • Pull-Ups Set 4: 9 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 5: Repeat circuit 4
  • Pull-Ups Set 5: 10 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 6: Repeat circuit 4
  • Kettlebell Burnout: 100 Snatches
  • Bottom of the Mountain Cooldown: Spin bike, 8 minutes; stretch

There’s a part of me that thinks parking your car inches from your front door is trashy.

Another part of me is jealous because I can’t park that close to my front porch, let alone my door.

But a third part of me cheers her on every time I see that vehicle parked in the grass, 10 yards away from their huge driveway. She’s doing it because it’s what she wants to do and likely has been wanting to do for some time.

What I’m trying to say here is now is the time to take what’s yours. If you want to lose 10 pounds, start exercising regularly, train for your first 5k or get a promotion at your job, that shit is YOURS. Kick whatever negativity you’re living with to the curb and you start parking your shit by the front door. There’s nothing stopping you.

Friday Fitness Finds 7/21

You’re squelching your emotions — All you talk about is old times
You don’t do what you want to — But you do the same thing everyday
No sense of humor — But such good manners
Now you’re an adult — You’re boring
It’s a life sentence — It’s a life sentence

This morning I busted out an old favorite of mine on the way to work — the Dead Kennedys Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. As I drove down the highway blasting and singing along to classics like Police Truck, Pull My Strings and Too Drunk to Fuck I was feeling more carefree and bulletproof than I have in weeks. Then it hit me…

I’m 32 years old and I’m driving my fairly new (five years old) car through the security gate at work where I write descriptions using a controlled vocabulary for a multi-billion dollar corporation. While the lyrics may be tattooed on my heart, when I sing songs about fighting a potential police state, ripping on those who sacrifice their morals for money and being more concerned about having a proper career than being a decent human being, it’s actually 16-year-old me that’s singing along.

I’m living the old man life nowadays because I like paying my bills and going to bed before 10:00. But these hardcore punker songs still speak to me. I still feel them in my bones. They set raging fires in my heart. And today, they made me realize I’m doing the exact same thing old dudes do when they constantly relive their glory days of when they were the star running back.

As long as it’s pushing you to be a better you that day, have at it. Even if you were an asshole jock back in the day. Or a punker. Or a metalhead. Or a 32 year old that’s somewhere in-between.

As for this week’s stuff. Let’s get to it. It’s mostly food this time around.

  • The Top Ten Signs that Say “I’m a Real Fighter” by Doug Ward via TITLE Boxing
    If you’re able to read something metaphorically then this is a dynamite article. It’s from the archives of the TITLE Boxing Blog and, therefore, is directed as boxers-in-training but I think there’s a lot to take away from it even if you’re not a boxer. Showing up, having passion, respecting your journey and yourself are all things that can benefit every one of us in different aspects of our lives. Boxing just happens to be a great way to illustrate it. Maybe instead of the Sweet Science they should change the name to the Sweet Philosophy.

  • Quit Overeating by Defining Your Happiness by Alex McBrairty via Breaking Muscle
    Yes, this article does address overeating and yes it does quickly start talking about how willpower is a shitty crutch and yes it does touch on the philosophy of being happy and several other weird “how did we get here” topics. But it also mentions how eating a whole pizza can be good for you. It also makes a Bruce Lee reference. And if you’re a top-notch reader, you’ll find that it makes many really good points about how important it is to keep yourself in check and remaining the hero in your own story.

  • Turkey Taco Salad Meal Prep via Damn Delicious
    Chungah is back in the house again this week with a pretty killer meal prep idea, especially for those that are new to the game. This can’t get much easier and I’m confident it can’t get much tastier. Though I may not be a big salad eater, I can definitely make an exception if you include taco in the title.

  • {Comfort Food} Shepherd’s Pie by Frisky Lemon
    PaleoGrubs pointed me to this recipe this week and I think it’s such a rad idea I’m going to make it for meal prep next week. I’ve done Paleo Shepherd’s Pie before so I know it can be done and can be done well but it’s been a few months since I gave it a go. And come on, it’s Shepherd’s Pie for Christ’s sake! Paleo + Comfort Food = win/win if you ask me (did anyone ask?).

  • Apple-Basil Chicken Burgers by Cave Food Kitchen
    More Paleo foodage that’s going on the meal plan for next week. Ground chicken isn’t something I work with a lot but these look and sound super good. Probably going to serve with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli but, I mean, there are no rules. Just tasty food!

  • Chocolate Cream Pie by Naked Cuisine
    The tags for this recipe include gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, Primal, Raw, Vegan and Vegetarian. In case you missed the main point here, it’s also a chocolate !@#$ing pie! I can’t guarantee that I’m making it this weekend but I intend to.

Music to Run Fast-ish, Lift Heavy and Punch Hard To

It was definitely not a great week for heavy music. I’ve listened to tracks from about 12 or 15 new metal releases this week and came up with nothing worth sharing. This is a shame because in the non-heavy realm, it was a very good Friday for your humble narrator. My friend Brandon hooked me up with his band The Lees of Memory’s masters for their upcoming record The Blinding White of Nothing At All and it’s pretty sick. I don’t like using that term (see also epic and badass) so please know that I don’t use it lightly. I’ll probably make a full post when the record is officially released. If you’re into it, you can pre-order your copy with the link I just posted.

If you weren’t aware, sweet Lana Del Rey released her new record Lust for Life today. I haven’t listened to this one just yet but I did get my pre-order download early this morning and was hooked up with some of the preview tracks a few weeks ago. It will be gold, I know, because she always is.

But enough of that. While I don’t have anything to lift heavy to, I do have some jams worth rocking while you’re moving your body. Since seeing the Aquabats last week (I swear to god there will be new photos this weekend) I’ve been rocking some of their newer material harder than I did when it originally came out. These are the two main offenders. Turn them up and go move those feet!