25 June 2009

The end of a chapter

Finally, I have finally satisfied one of my curiosities enough to move on to another. I have read enough books on fitness to proudly say I know enough about this topic to achieve my goals. Now just a matter of executing the knowledge and realizing my dreams. I've read tonnes of books and each book has its own point of view as well as new information to either completely throw me off my path or renew my faith in believing in what I'm doing.

So this begs the new question, which other curiosity do I satisfy? Much like what I read in my fitness books, at the end of the day, we get fit to survive and this leads me to functionality. I know it's always cool to get all buffed up and ripped, but at the end of the day, having huge arms does nothing but intimidate people and potential threats. From a usability point of view, they're quite useless unless you're trying to be a paper weight :P I have nothing against buff dudes, heck I admit I'm working on adding mass too but I guess at the end of the day, you got to do stuff for he bigger picture.

So, seeing as how I've progressed so much in both my fitness knowledge and physical being, it would lead me to pursue my drumming life and work on improving that. In fact, today while I was practicing drums, I realized I'd been spending far too much time on isolation exercises and my ability to just play the drums had gone down. So I decided it's time I got back to playing the drums and just followed the musical exercises in my books and kept at it. I'll do more research about the best way to advance my drumming later, because if my drumming never improved any more, I'd still be able to live.

What I won't be able to live without is my web design skills. I've recently been looking at improving my skills and got introduced BluePrintCSS. When I took the time to understand this framework, it took me back to a while ago when I used to read book after book about the best ways to make HTML websites and boy has that come in handy. All the neat little tips and tricks have helped not only save me time, but made me a living. All those cool frameworks I used to dab and learn about, stuff like jQuery used to make me all hot and excited because of all the cool things I could do with it! And then it all stopped, I got so caught up in the actual work, I got a bit out of touch with the new tide of the web. The funny thing is, I can still do my job, just there are better ways of achieving the same/better thing. Kind of like saying you can still get your message across via snail mail, but email just makes it soooooooooo much faster/better/easier.

This begs the 1st question of any quest: Where do I start?
Well, to be honest, I don't know. I'm ready to run back all the way to the basics, but that's not what I'm worried about, it's the source of this knowledge/refresher that I need to be certain about. I am a big fan of Friend of Ed (heck I'm a moderator on their forums, that's how much I love them) but I've been so out of touch I don't even know where to start with their books! But fear not for the web I have....the web! Yes, the mighty Internet to the rescue! I guess with any project of mine, it all begins with research. So here we go, for the next 10 days, my quest will be to find the best first step to re-invent myself as a new media designer/developer. Oh and a kick-ass drummer and comedian and you know the rest :P.

Oh and I've recently started on the book 4 hour work week. Long live audio-books! I'm only in the beginning and well so far I'm still not 100% sure what the book is going to be about but I do know that a lot of people are raving about it, so let's see what's the big fuss :P If anything, at least it'll make those mundane trips on the train a bit more productive. Sigh, I love and hate productivity. It's like a drug to me. Kind of like that addicted feeling you get when you work out and suddenly stop? Oddly recently I've managed to mentally avoid that weird feeling because I've finally convinced myself the importance of rest from exercise and I have results to prove its usefulness! Now if only I could convince myself of the importance of some "do whatever" time :\... oh well maybe this book'll be the magic pill!

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15 June 2009

Stretched beyond driven

Ever get those times when you feel like you have been going at it for a little bit too long? I've realized that if I don't allow myself a day off or a long break faster working continuously for 10 days, I start to lose focus, motivation and the drive. From what I can tell, even though I'm 2 days late for my entry (which explains how busy I've been!), I'm not feeling it today. I didn't sleep well, I haven't got that great appetite I usually have, I'm not looking forward to achieving anything today. Yet I'm in a bind because I know I have stuff that must get done today or at least asap.

How do you normally solve these moments? It's worse since I'm even alone here so I don't have the "energy bounced off from hard working colleagues" to rely on or "you'll work hard when the boss is watching" happen. All I have is my to-do list to constantly remind me of all the 953058258302 things (or at least that's how it feels like) I have outstanding.

I guess it all started when I'd been so tied up (been doing back-to-back comedy 4 out of the last 5 days) that I'd missed out a lot of my things and it all piled up to the point my to-do list had over 10 items that were overdue. I've found that once items are overdue for more than a day for me, I grow numb to them, it's like "well now what do I do first? Stuff that's needed today? Or stuff that was needed yesterday?" Either way I feel overwhelmed and the frustration sets in. Especially when I see my inbox cluttered up with new emails and tasks, I just feel lost as to where to even begin! The only thing I can think of doing is ignoring it and going out.

Which brings me to another issue, my legs are exhausted! Ahah, yikes. I've been standing so much for the last few days that my legs are literally too tired to push me up and walk around. I can feel a certain level of soreness as well creeping up all over my lower body. Heh, ok yesterday's lower-body workout didn't really help in easing the pain either. I just hope I didn't overtrain my muscles.

On a brighter note, I'm very, very motivated to drink a lot of water. Why? Because I'm thirsty. I guess hunger and thirst are 2 things you'll never been "not motviated to do" when you are hungry and thirsty. It's quite interesting to see how your sub-concious/body can push you past your "too tired to care" attitude. Too bad my mind knows how to get lazy voluntarily. I guess I really should learn from it.

Speaking of learning stuff, I learnt a hard lesson recently. I learnt that sometimes, even when you're trying to be as positive as possible, things can still suck. I recently watched the movie I'd been waiting for years and years for -- Terminator Salvation, and I went in, super duper excited, thinking "I don't care, just give me cyborgs, guns, crazy music, awesome-ness!!" and the movie was so bad, even my super positive attitude and excitement was crushed. When the movie ended, I felt so upset because it totally ruined the whole Terminator series of movies. Completely. Not only did the movie not deserve the money I spent on my ticket, it was a waste on a big screen, it made me ashamed to say Terminator 2: Judgement Day was my all-time favorite movie. Well I guess now I realized, no matter what, expect the worst, and when you're expecting the worst, don't assume anything or that things cant get that bad, literally expect the worst. Interesting.

Alright, enjoy your next 10 days, let's see if I can get my butt-kicked into gear to get stuff done!


03 June 2009

The end of near

And here we are, the mighty month of June, hinting the arrival of the mid-way point of 2009. It's fascinating how these "dates" act as some sort of miracle turning point for a lot of people. Like new years suddenly empowers thousands to change their ways, all in a day. I admit, I'm one of them, but I often use it as an excuse to make changes. Kind of like I tell myself "alright man, it's a new year, a new mind-set and a new level of success" rather than "ok ok I'm going to do this starting 1 Jan!" the thing is, and if you read my previous posts near the new years' time, I often like to do a new years test run of all my resolutions for a few weeks to work out the kinks of everything before I really go with the "ok starting 1st Jan, I want to..." chant.

Speaking of chanting and repetitions, I've been continuously doing a lot of research about fitness and healthy eating and it feels good to get to a point a lot of the books seem to be repeating themselves. That means I've fully got the concept behind a lot of this. Of course, there's still a lot to learn, but the point is, I can now confidently plan out my meals, my workouts, etc. knowing exactly why I have to do everything. I mean, I've been studying factors such as how fast/slow you should lift a weight as well as let it down. In fact, after knowing all this, a lot of things make sense. I can even feel differences in my body and it no longer is "oh I feel sore", but it's a different type of sore. It's like I've better understood the different types/levels of soreness through understanding the reason behind this soreness. Like now, I'm in a phase of "slow tempo lifting" where I'm working my slow-twitch fibers and this often depletes the glycogen stored in your muscles much more, requiring your body to refuel with more glycogen, thus filling up your muscles more and making them bigger. I wake up feeling sore because I feel like my muscles are empty. After a hearty breakfast, I'm back to normal. The funny thing is, I realize now the benefits of this workout and to be honest, from a strength point of view, this isn't the best choice because I'm neglecting my fast-twitch fibers and eventually I'll be weaker than before. Partly because I'm lifting lighter weights and doing it slower. As they say, lift slow and become slow. But aren't your muscles getting bigger? Yes, that's true, but they're getting less efficient, in other words, my mind-muscle connection isn't being trained. Tell me to punch a guy, and I'll probably not be too forceful. It's a funny reality we live in.

I've found the best way I can improve is to understanding why I improve. Much like how I spent time learning about muscle-memory, I've seen my drumming skills improve a lot ever since I conciously understood why I was practicing a certain way. Sure I wish I had more than 30mins to an hour a day (at most) to practice, but it's still good enough. Oddly, drumming is all about the mind-muscle connection so training my muscles to get bigger helps my drumming in almost no way if you ask me, however, it does help boost my self-confidence, which in turn will boost my on-stage image/vibe and thus probably help my drumming in the end. However, it still comes down to plain ol' practicing in this field.

For comedy, this is yet another thing, body language, voice, tone, expression, etc. all combined! I'm hoping to do a one-man English show this year and it'll probably be at the end of August. I'm not sure if I can make it by then, but that's the goal for now. I've got 10 days to confirm this with myself and get to it. I've been constantly gathering ideas and stuff but haven't had a chance to refine any of them, but it's alright, an idea-gathering phase is very important in itself anyway. So I'll let you know what's going on there in my next post.

And this brings me to my point of being in the middle of 2009. I can see where I was on 1 Jan and where I am on 2 June. It's a good progress, kind of like this year has been a time for me to answer all my "why is it like this" questions, and hopefully the rest of 2009 will be for me to fulfill the "do it like this" part. :) So here's to another 10 days of achievements and successes to everyone :) Enjoy!

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