Jun 19

Here We Go Again

And by we, I mean me. I’m doing some digital housekeeping and getting stuff organized like it’s 2007 for me again.

Hello, if you’re seeing this via RSS.

Aug 15

Tiny Habits: Push-ups

A couple of years ago, I’d heard an interview with Tim Ferriss where he made referrence to Stanford behavioral scientist BJ Fogg. At the time, I jotted down the name in Things under “Interesting” (also like my “Someday” folder) and forgot all about it until mid-late June 2015, at which time I looked him up on YouTube and watched one of his TED Talks. I’m simplifying this for my own understanding: Dr. Fogg had devised a system called Tiny Habits, whereby we gradually acquire new habits by initially attaching them to a different action already being done. He gave one of many examples as doing a couple of push-ups after each time you have a pee. No big deal. I decided to try that particular example out, only doing five push-ups after each bathroom visit (Note: not actually doing push-ups IN the bathroom). Having spent some time going over the book Convict Conditioning, my push-up form was already pretty decent.

Throughout the month of July 2015, I increased my push-ups each week by one for each visit until, as of this week, I hit ten push-ups for each bathroom visit (no plans to go beyond ten). I hadn’t completely nerded out by keeping count of them all, but, at a conservative 30 bathroom visits per week, by my estimates, I’ve done over 1,000 push-ups (!) since the last week of June/first week of July 2015. 

It’s safe to say that, for me, it worked.

If you’re up for making small, positive changes to your daily routine, Dr. Fogg is a great resource. He even has a Tiny Habits app as a starting point.

Now, how’s about me flossing daily at bedtime?

(Spoiler Alert: there is a Tiny Habit for flossing).

May 15

Musical Chairs

In addition to monthly drum and piano lessons, I have been busy with several musical projects this year. The kind of busy that keeps me out of the house most weekday evenings.

This post serves as a placeholder until I can write a proper one.

Mar 14

Heavy Lifting

So, a little over a week ago I tweeted about how I had recently stopped taking antidepressants, after having been on ’em for the past ten-and-a-half years. Mind you, it was a very gradual taper since the previous summer, consulting with my doctor every step of the way. I wouldn’t have considered quitting these cold turkey. That would’ve been waaaay too much a shock to the system.

The first couple of days were fine, nothing too noticeable. I’d missed a couple of days in a row at least once or twice over the past decade. However, by day three and four (the first weekend), it started feeling fucking scary: waking up in the middle of the night with that anxious, sinking feeling, that had me bounding out of bed trying to calm down and figure out just what in the fuck was going on. The only way I could relax was to put on the kettle, make a mug of hot water and honey, and either pace around our condo’s hallway while listening to comedy podcasts (when I COULD listen to them), or go for a stroll around the neighbourhood in -15°C darkness.

After managing to get a few hours sleep, and it thankfully being the weekend, I did some siting meditation to attempt to ease through this transition. I totally think it helped. I’ve been trying to sit for at least 20 minutes per day since then, though the past week (March break) wasn’t as successful.

One thing that I’ve tried to avoid over the past decade was going to the interwebs to diagnose, etc. when it came mental health. I did break my own rule that first weekend by reading a site or two about coming off the same type of meds I’d been taking. It was to get a little bit of perspective in my situation; a friendly reminder that my brain had been getting some help over the past decade.

When asked by friends and associates what made me decide to go off antidepressants, I tell them that the situation in which I started taking them was no longer applicable; that I am not the same person I was ten years ago, and have a better perspective; that I have (better) coping mechanisms in place than I did ten years ago.

I also tell them that it was time that my brain did its own heavy lifting.

Mar 11

The Year of Reinventing Myself


I turned 40 last summer. It wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it would be. The weirdest thing a few months later was thinking to myself how I’d now outlived John Lennon. Yeah, I know. I’m such a deep fellow.

I’d been running for a couple of years, mostly since giving up my gym membership for the great outdoors (okay – PAVED outdoors). A few months before I hit my “milestone” birthday, I’d switched from wearing running shoes to Vibram Five Fingers, which, naturally, changed the way that I ran. I’ll not get into the whole biomechanics stuff (there’s piles of that stuff available online). I did, however, notice that any knee pain after longer runs (10K+) had disappeared. In the latter part of the summer, I kicked off the footwear and began running completely barefoot until I’d gradually built up enough padding to run 10K unshod. That was kinda cool. During the winter months, I’d been holed up indoors more that I cared for on account of trying to balance work/home/school/family life. Needless to say, I’ll be starting from scratch once the weather warms up.

As I wasn’t being too active, burning bunches of calories, etc., I got myself a 35lb kettlebell to do some two-handed swinging. Any regular gym-goer will expound on the virtues of building muscle to burn calories (even while you’re loafing about). I wanted to get back into that discipline. Just before the Christmas season, I started getting more serious about the kettlebell and checked out books and articles by the training master: Pavel Tsatsouline. After reading about another serious kettlebell’r, Tracy Reifkind, and her routine, I got myself a GymBoss timer for intervals. I’m still trying to figure out a good routine for myself, but 20 minutes (off and on) of two-handed swings thrice weekly is kicking my ass just fine, thank you.

I’m sure I’d read somewhere that losing weight falls under the ol’ 80/20 paradigm. 80% of weight loss is due to eating better/right; the other 20% is exercise. I’d dabbled in GI and ABS diets over the years to little or no avail. Since I was falling into a good exercise routine, it was time to fix the biggest component of my life: FOOD! I’ve never been 100% vegetarian, though I hated eating meat when I was growing up, not because I had “morals”; I just hated the taste and texture. The only exception had been chicken (when battered, breaded, fried, etc.). I never went for tofu or any alternatives (I didn’t even TRY tofu until I was in my early 30s). I’d never been a regular salad-eating-kinda-fellow and tended to pile on the carbohydrates WAY too regularly. I’d lived on pizza, chicken fingers and wings, grilled cheese, burritos, veggie burgers and subs for far too long. Since I was changing a lot of basics in my life, I needed to change the most basic. This coincided with looking seriously into the book and philosophy of a gentleman called Ori Hofmekler and The Warrior Diet, which is generally based around eating foods like light protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts, yoghurt during the day, and a large meal in the evening. I’d probably eaten only a few spoonfuls of yoghurt in my life. It’s now a near-daily part of my eating, along with raw almonds, blueberries and raspberries, along with a protein shake. I’ve even been drinking my coffee black for about three weeks now and don’t miss the cream or half-and-half.

I’d given serious consideration and, after examining my diet long and hard, especially over the amount of “dead” or processed foods I’d consumed, decided that, in addition to all of the other changes I was making to my life, I would switch to a vegetarian diet. Just because I hadn’t been eating meat regularly didn’t mean I’d been vegetarian, on account of there being very little vegetables or “live” foods in my diet. I used to joke about being a Pastafarian when I was a teenager; either that or a breadetarian.

So, if you’ve got any must-have recommendations for cookbooks, websites, etc., let’s have ‘em!

In keeping with my ongoing pursuit of self-improvement, the other big facet of my life that is also being quietly worked on is the other four-lettered word: budget (okay, six-lettered). If you’re like me, I’d recommend starting with J.D. Roth’s Your Money: The Missing Manual and his site: Get Rich Slowly. I haven’t spent nearly as much time as I’d like with either of them, though I am trying.

Oh man, am I trying.