Crossing your fits and dotting your eyes

I did a crossfit workout yesterday.

It’s probably more acceptable to say that I “attempted” a crossfit workout yesterday. I used to do crossfit. It’s been at least four years. I stopped because I realised I was coming up on 30, and it seemed sub-optimal to be encouraging my rapidly degenerating bones to undergo excessive hardship. Crossfit is silly. Crossfit is known for its excessive reps and irresponsible joint strains. Movement standards often get pushed aside in favour of more efficient technique. These shortcuts can have adverse effects on the body, creating undue wear and tear. There’s no reason, for instance, that a person should be striving to do 120 pull ups in a single session. By any metric it’s fucking absurd. Yet I’ve done workouts before that’ve involved 4 rounds, with 30 pullups in a single round. People shortcut with kipping pull ups. This is what a kipping pull up looks like, it’s a gymnastic movement that uses the elasticity of your shoulders, follows a smooth body motion and lifts you up. It doesn’t use the same muscle groups as a regular pull up, and is significantly lighter on your body, zero questions. The thing is, most people I’ve seen doing kipping pull ups don’t push back from the bar, they just drop straight down once they reach the top. It’s fucking brutal on your joints, and a bad, bad call. Don’t do that.

I had a fun time with crossfit, I really did. It helped me push myself past soft limits I’d built. Of course it encouraged me to push past hard limits too, and I paid the price with long term injuries. It was, however, remarkable how fit I got. It lifted my fitness capability in ways that I still harness years later. It gave me a confidence within my own body that I didn’t think I would ever obtain. I learned a ton, and I’m also extremely glad that I’m talking about crossfit in past tense. In exponentially more ways than I do, I don’t miss it.

Once again, I did a crossfit workout yesterday.

I googled “free WODs no equipment” (WOD being crossfit slang for Workout Of the Day) and found one right off the bat:

For Time
10 Burpees

10 Burpees
20 Push-Ups

10 Burpees
20 Push-Ups
50 Lunges

10 Burpees
20 Push-Ups
50 Lunges
100 Sit-Ups

10 Burpees
20 Push-Ups
50 Lunges
100 Sit-Ups
150 Air Squats

It seemed imposing, but doable. I did the math, 50 burpees, 100 push ups, 150 lunges, 200 sit ups, 150 air squats. On the page, comparing with past workouts I’d done, it all seemed within my reach. I decided to swap the sit ups out for Mountain Climbers, because sit ups are a fucking worthless exercise. I filled up a bottle of water and set myself up in the hallway. Spoiler, it did not go as planned.

Immediately I realised there was more at play. I hadn’t remotely considered the cumulative strain of the round structure. With the way it was set up, I was effectively doing 20 burpees off the bat. I’m good at burpees, I’m quick at burpees and I generally like burpees (because I’m sufficiently short). They’re also fucking exhausting. I forgot that while I used to be able to make it to 100 push ups, it’s been years since push ups were part of my fitness routine. I struggled through my first round of 25 push ups, and immediately realised I needed to tweak the numbers or I’d never survive. I dropped push ups to 15 per round, lunges to 30 per round, mountain climbers to 50 per round, and air squats to 80 overall.

I still shuddered through the entire thing. It’s been a long long time since I was doubled over, nigh-heaving with exhaustion from a workout, but that was me in every single round. The push ups were intense, the lunges weren’t so bad, but doing them round after round really picked up. The air squats were a huge surprise. I found that I’d do them in groups of 20. Each time I got to 10 squats and thought hey, this isn’t so bad, maybe I’ll do 30-40 this group. Then at 14 squats I’d start feeling it. By 18 my thighs were screaming and at 20 they shut down. I couldn’t do any more until I had a minute or so’s rest. It took me about half an hour, which I was happy enough with. I wasn’t racing, I had nothing to prove, and I mostly wanted to see if I could do it. Today my whole body is screaming at me, which seems like the only appropriate response.

For the rest of this social isolation, I’m also happy to talk about having done a crossfit workout in past tense.

If someone suggests getting a puzzle I will personally cough on you

Shit just got real.

It feels that way in any case. A sort of malaise has gripped society. People cast their gaze down on the subway. They avoid each other like the plague. No pleasant conversations between strangers. Toronto has become a lonely citadel, folks pass in the streets like shadows, avoidant and scared. Oh wait, that’s just what living in Toronto is like.

Sarcasm aside, something does feel off. My coworker came into the office for his shift, and he carried this anxious tension. I get it. We talked through things. We’ve had to adopt an expanded shift rotation aftter one of our coworkers returned to the country. All the live DV is down to one coworker and I. We may make a little extra cash, which is nice. I’m sure at some stage I’ll have to go two weeks without a paycheck. Woof. It’s an awfully big hit on the back of moving to a new apartment that costs half as much again as our current one. I’m sure we’ll be far from the only folks suffering. All of my freelancer or arts friends are reeling from the impact. Theatres closed, comedy venues shut down. Restaurants and bars must be staring down the barrel of a grim month. Everyone in our corporation have been encouraged to work from home if possible. It’s a monumentally shitty time for my home computer to shit itself. A friend’s gonna help me fix it, but he won’t be around until Tuesday evening. While I was offered the next four days off, I asked my boss if I could come in for my day shifts until Tuesday to stave off boredom. What am I supposed to do at home if I don’t have a working computer? Hell, even the libraries are closed. Fingers crossed I renewed my library account to check out books online.

General services have shut down. Libraries obviously included. The scope of the shutdowns is staggering, unprecedented and wholly surprising. By the sounds of it, it’s also sensible. I asked the question to friends over whether I should stick to outdoor cardio and home calisthenics instead of going to the gym. Affirmatives all around. “Stay home, flatten the curve” was everyone’s advice. Guess I’m back to doing bodyweight home workouts like I did before I could afford a gym membership. Fucking sigh. If it helps, it helps.

We’re still a few days off needing another stack of toilet paper. Fingers crossed we don’t have to resort to tissues, paper towels, or drip drying. The smart move would be committing to a bidet. At the same time, if we’re moving house in a few weeks, I don’t really want to install a bidet only to almost instantly remove it. It’s also weird having to move in the midst of a pandemic. Is it unrealistic or unsafe to get friends to give us a hand under these circumstances? Is hiring a professional moving company any better? Who’s to say a sick contractor has the piece of mind to say no to much needed income? In this scenario, who do we trust?

All I know is that I’m severely ill-equipped to deal with being stuck at home. I’m so much of a social glutton, and it’s rare for online communication to scratch those itches. I’m probably desperate enough for interaction that I’d start live streaming mundane activities. Would people want to watch me fixing a bowl of porridge? Cleaning the litter box? Ranting about capitalism while I fold laundry? There are a lot of bored people on the internet, you know. Maybe I’ll see if I can finish the zombo.com back catalogue.

Shit, I’ve been home for 45 minutes and I think I’m already bored. Hope dies here.

Turning in my gear

I swear I tried to go outside. I did.

I told y’all yesterday that I was expediting the process of writing, and what I had in mind was biking. I got on my bike, ready to cycle out to an LCBO and see what these White Claws were all about. The internet has been abuzz, and sweet RTDs that aren’t cloying are a rarity. I hopped on my bike and noticed a weird sound as I rode. I made it as far as the footpath before realising that my back tire was flat. Boo. So I turned tail, went straight back inside and finished The Circle. Now I’m biding my time in a cafe, with a mocha and hard tack muesli bar by my side, waiting while my tire is being fixed.

Ironically, I’m getting it fixed so I can go and hang out with my bike buddy. He’s the guy who helped me find my bike and fix said bike on multiple locations. I’ve found that most every time I’ve gotten in touch with him since getting the bike, has been with the proviso of needing his cycle repair skills. It’s felt gross and mercenary for me. I like the guy, he’s interesting and has a ton of life experience that’s so different from mine. I hate the idea of having a friend who I just go to for help, and especially if that involves shortcutting the process of paying for repairs. It’s very nice that he can help, that he’s eager to help, but I don’t like how it makes me feel to constantly be taking advantage of someone’s generosity. In fact, I refused to tell him about the flat tire before going to get it fixed, because I don’t want our hang out to centre around bikes. I just want to sit around, shooting the shit, maybe playing some video games, and getting to hear about the cool projects he’s taking on. He’s the kind of guy who likes putting things together. I haven’t seen his new apartment yet, but the last one had been customised with various pulley storage systems, so he could hang his bike from the roof, or keep things out of sight. Last time I was there, he told me about his interest in buying an old bus and converting it for on the go living. It’s the kind of stuff I’d never do myself, but I’m fascinated by lives that are different from my own, and I want to hear how it fits into his day to day.

It’s an absurdly sunny day today. I’m in a fluffy hoodie, that’s it. No big winter jacket. Some semblance of the end is in sight. I can get out and about again, frolicking in the prairies and meadows. More importantly, I can stop being a hermit purely because it’s easier than anything else. Of course I love staying in and vegging out, but I’m quite okay with it not being the default. Frankly, I’ve been out of apples for a few days, and it hasn’t been easy to simply zip out and pick some up. When it’s sunny and the ground isn’t covered with slush, that’s an adventure, not a chore. I can’t imagine how great it’s gonna be having so much time off while it’s sunny. Oooh, I’m getting excited already. I’ll even be finished with this writing project by then, and have even fewer daily responsibilities.

Going outside will be the rule, not the exception.

Spinformation overload

Today I learned that bike chains stretch over time.

I had plans for today, I really did. I was gonna get up, go to the gym and sort out some personal admin stuff. Didn’t really happen. Instead I spent a while trying to handshake a conversation between friends for a project I’m doing with one of them. We need a logo, and friend 2 is a skilled artist. Thing is, friend 1 is the person who knows what they want in a logo. Try as I might to organise things with friend 2, it’s sorta meaningless to organise them when friend 1 has the ideas. It took a while to sort out, but good things will likely come from that conversation, so altogether worth it.

By the time I’d finished with all that, I was ready to get active. I got on my bike and rode towards the gym. 300m or so I stopped and turned. Did I really feel like the gym? Or just to get out and about before snow fell again? I decided on the latter, so turned around to drop my stuff back off at home. Bike chain fell off. I pushed my bike back home, and worked on getting the chain back on in my backyard. I love my bike, I love the gears, I like that there’s a housing for the chain, except when I have to put it back on. Then it’s just incredibly cumbersome. To add insult to injury, I’m pretty clueless with bikes. I have a vague idea of how the chain fits back in, but I’m clumsy. I managed to get it back on, at the expense of greasy fingers. I decided that maybe I could bike instead of gymming, and do an errand to get the most out of it. I had shorts to get repaired at Lululemon, after the zippers felt straight out of the pockets. Great excuse for a bike ride.

I got on my bike and rode again. Directly across the street from where I turned around last time, my bike chain fell off again. It fucking sucked. Here I was, fuming in this park. I had my big coat on, gloves, earbuds, helmet, it all had to come off for me to get into the chain. Even worse, it fell behind the gear, stuck between that and the housing. I had to forage for strong thin sticks to push it back into place. Took maybe 10 minutes. Incredibly frustrating. At every intersection I worried the chain would fall down again. It stayed tight all the way down to Queen, and I parked with relief. I dropped the shorts off, then noticed MEC out of the corner of my eye.

I entered MEC and looked for the bike centre. I asked a mechanic in there about bike chains, if it was an easy problem to fix. “Should be” he said, and told me to bring it in. He hoisted it up onto a rack and brought out this little metal tool. He nestled it into a length of bike chain. He looked closer, then nodded. “Your chain has stretched a little. I can tighten it up in a couple of minutes.” He went to work and explained that bike chains stretch over time. Their lifespan depends on the amount of strain, weight they ferry, general work they’re put through, and maintenance schedule. They weren’t incredibly expensive to replace, but I probably had a few more months on mine. He said there was no charge, as he gave the wheel a good greasing.

Couldn’t have planned it better.

This is what I call a puff piece

So an NZ based documentary crew reached out, looking for Kiwis in Canada who used weed post legalisation. I wrote out a big email, and realised it could be interesting for others.

When it comes to weed, it’s a big part of my life post legalisation. I wasn’t much of a smoker back home, or even once I came over here. Going to Portland, Oregon for a holiday was an eye opening experience. It was legal, the stores were well organised and informative. Nothing clandestine or back-alley, staff were only too happy to explain in depth to my ignorant self. It made me feel much safer and more secure about the experience. Once it was announced that weed would be legalised here, I grew more interested in trying it out.

A big part of the equation was having some kind of metric with which to understand how intoxicated I would likely become (edibles etc list MG of THC and it’s a very handy guide). With alcohol, you have no control over the type of experience you might have. With weed, while it’s not absolute, you can at least tailor it a little. Do I want to relax, watch something dumb and fall asleep in a few hours? Maybe an indica would be good. Do I want to release anxiety or feel slightly better in my body? Maybe a low THC hybrid would be the ticket. Do I want to be spritely, sociable and creative? I’ll smoke some kind of sativa.

Honestly, the legal weed is kind of dogshit. It’s often dry and of low quality. The provincial government fucked up big time with their roll out, because they’re a populist government who are more about making back pocket deals than creating effective public structure. They allowed something like 25 stores across Ontario, which for reference is significantly larger than the entirety of NZ. Lots of pearl clutching, etc. I won’t start ranting about this government, because I won’t stop. “Trump light” is the best compliment I could give.

I tend to go to “grey market” locations. CAFE (Cannabis And Fine Edibles) is my go-to. It’s not technically legal, but after a ton of legal troubles (and if you want a story, please reach out and talk to someone involved in CAFE about when the cops were daily putting large concrete blocks in front of their stores to prevent customers being able to enter. CAFE would just pay the fines, because they were making money hand over fist). It’s well lit, they have efficient systems worked out, the staff are knowledgeable and helpful, they have a variety of strains, plus edibles, disposable vapes, shatter bars, etc etc. I usually pay $10-14 per gram, and I understand that the illegal market is probably about half the price. While I smoke probably daily, I don’t smoke quantities enough that it’s worth me sniffing out the illegal market. Plus I’m a boring, uncool dork, so why bother doing something cool like meeting dealers by the light of the moon?

I use a vape to smoke. I grind up weed and use it in there. It’s easier on my lungs, it’s very simple to use and allows me greater control over my experience. It’s also pretty discreet, and I feel okay smoking it while walking down the street, or standing on my front porch. I have a variety of purposes I use weed for, depending on the strain. I have never and hope not to smoke before work. It’s not my style, I like my job and I wouldn’t want to compromise my ability to do it. Weed has helped drastically cut down my alcohol intake, which is wonderful. Depending on the strain, weed has been good for parties, going out dancing, or relaxing if I’m on evening shifts and walking out of the office at 12.30am. I’m actually quite into using weed with exercise, going to the gym for a light focused workout (I wouldn’t dare to lift heavy weights on it) or having a jog. I don’t own a car, but I can’t imagine I’d feel safe to drive after smoking. I think I’m a relatively responsible dude, and it’s shocking how Chicken Little of a big deal legalisation was. I thought the sky would fall, and basically nothing changed.

It’s a stretch, but maybe they want flexible tenants

UGH. What a GREAT WEEKEND. I just wanna talk about it.

BAM, I am. This morning (post 12pm. Don’t @ me) we went out for brunch at The Gem, my local. I knew I wanted to go for brunch, because when do I ever not want to go to The Gem for Sunday brunch? The food is cheap, tasty, it’s a kitchy atmosphere, and I can just zone out to enjoy the experience. My girlfriend and I got to chatting, and she decided to come along. We walked in the door and marvelled at the specials. Shrimp and cheese omelette? Some kind of breakfast platter with guacamole, rice & beans, tortillas, plantaines, eggs. Eggs benny (Gemmy) plus a pork chop. We were transfixed. I didn’t expect a lot before we arrived, even if I tend to nearly always get a special. While we were gawking, friends of ours walked in. Not friends we’re close with. I’ve chatted with them a bunch at parties and really like the couple. I hadn’t had the pleasure of hanging out with them in a more intimate environment to learn more about them as people. My girlfriend immediately asked them if they wanted to join us, and we all settled down at a table by the window. It was fucking charming. It was so nice to hang out with them in this benevolently unexpected scenario.

Yesterday we saw a rental and really liked it. Right at the tip of our price range, but significantly better than anything we’d seen so far. There were two separate, well-sized bedrooms with doors that closed. There was even a lounge with a door that closed that could’ve easily doubled as a bedroom. The kitchen wasn’t huge, but it had enough counter space and lots of cupboards. Most rooms had windows and I’m sure it’d be sunny during the day. It was a second floor spot, and had a MASSIVE balcony that stretched the entire width of the apartment. The bathroom had not only cute yellow patterned tiles all over, but a legit bath shower. We’ve been using this gross vertical shower for so long, that a real bath shower seems like an amazing luxury. Washer and dryer ON SITE. It’s 600m away from our current home, so we’d get to stay in this area we love so much, close to our friends, even closer to the subway. We kind of have our fingers crossed over this place, because we’re sure it’s gonna be snapped up by some fucking yuppies with loose funds coming out their buttholes. If not, it ticks all of our boxes so nicely, and would offer such a pleasurable quality of life.

I honestly didn’t intend to talk about the place so much, because we’re working on not getting our hopes up. The thing I did want to talk about was the fellow apartment hunter bringing a pilates DVD to the fucking showing. I DON’T GET IT. It’s not like she was being all flashy, going oh no, it looks like I dropped my PILATES DVD. She was just holding it, and I’m ever inquisitive, so I spotted what it was. Why did she have a pilates DVD? Can’t you find free pilates stuff all over the internet? Who still owns a DVD player? Why did she have a pilates DVD that day specifically? Why did she bring it to a viewing? Was she trying to assert dominance? In what scenario did she find herself stuck with this DVD, with no choice but to pick it up or purchase it before seeing a potential rental? Was virtue signalling? Did she think that this DVD made her more of a viable candidate? Fuck, DID IT MAKE HER A MORE VIABLE CANDIDATE? SHOULD WE HAVE OBTAINED A PILATES DVD BEFORE THE SCREENING TO INCREASE OUR CHANCES?

Shit. If we don’t get this place, you know I’m just gonna regret not having a pilates DVD until kingdom come.

Don’t blame it on the sunlight, don’t blame it on the moonshine

Yesterday was an endlessly great day. So great that I’m gonna bullet point it all.

  • I got over eight hours of sleep. This was a biggie. Lately I’ve been struggling with having the requisite 40 winks. I’ve had maybe 30-35 at most. Yesterday I may have accumulated somewhere in the realms of 47 winks, and it was amazing. I practically bounded out of bed.
  • Coffee. We’ve been grinding our own coffee for a while now. My girlfriend had the bright idea to get it pre-ground and save us time on the other end. I was torn. There’s something vaguely romantic about grinding your own coffee. It keeps the beans fresher for longer, and it makes you feel like you’re contributing to the process. Thing is though, our grinder is shit. It takes 5-10 minutes in the morning, which is time that could be spent not grinding coffee. Turns out it’s actually incredibly handy, and we get through the beans quickly enough that they’re not gonna get stale anyway. A simple change that cumulatively will save a lot of time and effort. Good call.
  • I got to play Magic. I’ve been loving the new set. I’ve been doing particularly poorly in limited, but it’s very interactive and complex. I’m hoping to get better, and the only way is by learning the format more. I jammed a bunch of games yesterday, and it allowed me to try new archetypes. I’m seeing how different cards play, and starting to get a more nuanced understanding of different corner case scenarios. I made more than my fair share of mistakes, but hopefully they were burgeoning lessons.
  • A friend was trying out a gym and wanted a buddy. I biked there and back, which I figured was a decent workout in itself. We didn’t work out much, but we got to hang out and stretch. I did one or two sets after she left, then headed home. I even picked up my favourite oats on the way back.
  • I played even more Magic.
  • A friend was hosting a Fear Pong night, so I headed over. Fear Pong is some kickstarter combination of beer pong and truth or dare. There are dares underneath each cup. If your opponent gets your cup out, you can either do the dare, or drink. Each dare has a colour code that indicates how compromising it’ll be. It’s known for being messy, outrageous and fun. I think I’m gonna change tense, and that deserves a new bullet point.
  • Our group was pretty familiar, so some of the dares felt less extreme than others. They ranged dramatically in severity. Like, dares to drink your own urine and strip to your underwear had equal weighting. Most of us see each other naked on a regular basis, so those types of dares felt less risqué and more passé. I was fine with most dares, as long as they didn’t involve compromising somebody else. I wasn’t gonna call someone at nearly midnight just so I could ostensibly do better at a game. I’d much rather drink instead. The more extreme dares were removed. Nobody was gonna factory reset their phone or cut up their credit cards for the sake of a game. I intentionally brought my least favourite clothes in case they got ruined. New bullet point.
  • Highlights included: Someone got pied in the face, and the whipped cream went everywhere. I had to text an ex “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately”, and now we’re gonna hang out this week. My opponent had to swap around her top and bottom clothes, after she’d already shed her top layer. This resulted in her wearing a bikini as underwear (worked really well, actually) and her strappy knickers made for pseudo halter top. Honestly, it was a great look. There was a bathroom selfie turned new profile picture, a friend’s mum called and serenaded the room with “Drops of Jupiter”, I was ridden like a horse. Horseplay all around, in fact. Fun night, would play again.

I even ate pizza and drank moonshine. Is there such a thing as a better day?