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Crossfit – Take 2, or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Say “Fuck It”

In September 2011, I took a trip with my friend JJ to Spain, which you might have read about before. And, if you haven’t, there’s a handy dandy link in the previous sentence. Hyperlinked!

One night in Barcelona, JJ and I thought it would be an awesome idea (after a few bottles of retsina) to break into Parc Güell. We’d been there the day before, but it was full of tourists and hard to get a sense of what it was really like without the swarming masses of picture-takers. We also saw that the place was only protected by a 10 foot tall stone wall. No razor wire, no spikes, no nothing. So come 1am, JJ and I and our gracious host Iolanda, broke into the park. I had trouble pulling myself over the wall because of a serious lack of upper body strength, but we still managed to get in.

Over the next few days, JJ and I got to talking about fitness and he brought up Crossfit as a good, albeit intense, way to get into excellent shape. He had been training that way for a while and sang its praises. I got excited about it since I’d never really been into exercising before and it seemed like a good, directed way to get into shape. If it was left up to me to self-motivate and go to the gym to spend some time fucking around without any clear idea of what I should be doing, I would never ever work out. Case in point: I never ever worked out. But a class was something I could get into, and having someone there guiding you was even better. Plus, I wanted (and want) to get into good shape and impress this girl I was seeing. Besides, if your fitness goals are based on struggling while committing a crime, you’re probably on the right track.

Back in New York, I signed up for an intro class, nearly died doing it, signed up for the Elements course, finished that without dying, attended classes for a few weeks, but then got sad and drifted off. All the good intentions in the world weren’t going to get me out of bed in the morning to go work out. It was hard enough getting up at all; self-improvement was out the window. I spent a lot of time at the bar, though! That’s pretty cool, I guess.

Fast forward 12 months and a whole mess of life changes and I am back in the saddle. I took the Elements course again at the beginning of December to reacquaint myself with the exercises and ease into the regular (read: beginner) WODs. And I am still attending regularly. Hell, I’m even getting to the 8:30a classes on these miserable 15° January mornings which means getting up at 7:15, getting dressed in the half-light of dawn, leaving behind a nice warm body in bed, and getting on the god damned subway. Crossfit, do you understand what I sacrifice to be there on time?!

DO YOU!?

This time is different in that I feel like I am going to be successful in my goals. I think that deserves an examination. What exactly is different this time than it was a year ago when I stopped attending during the first attempt?

First, and most importantly, I feel a lot better about my life and the things going on in it. That is the biggest difference from last year. It’s a lot easier to take care of yourself, to make yourself incredibly uncomfortable for the purpose of bettering yourself, when you don’t feel like a worthless, miserable sack of shit all the time. Surprising, right? I know it is.

Second, I am allowing myself to be vain. Is it wrong that a big part of my motivation is wanting to look good when I get married? Nope. I don’t feel bad about that being a motivator for me in the slightest. I would like to do away with some fluff and add a significant amount of tone to my body before the date (which we do not yet know). Why not? I am stil trying to impress that girl. I want to do a billion pull-ups at the wedding.

Third, I’ve adopted an incredibly helpful “Fuck it, whatever,” attitude with the workouts. My gym, Crossfit NYC, posts the next day’s workout every day so you can get a sense of what to expect. While I understand that they are just trying to help people plan their training regimen, I found this information to be absolutely poisonous to my attendance. I would read what was planned for the next day and start worrying about it so much I would end up not going. “Oh no, 30 million push-ups?! I’ll die!” or “What the fuck is a ‘thruster’?” or “Burpees?! Fuck you.” It was a terrible way to approach Crossfit.

This time, I don’t even bother looking. I don’t want to know until I get there and it is too late to leave. There are enough things that get in the way of showing up (work, life, soreness) without psyching myself out about it. Now I just go when I can and think “fuck it, whatever the WOD is, I am going to do it. It might be miserable, it might be fine, but whatever it is, I am going to do it.” So much better. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, that attitude echoes a lot of what I’ve written here on The Black Laser about being a creative person. And it boils down to “shut the fuck up and do the work.”

Here’s what we’re looking at for the weather tomorrow morning when I am supposed to be getting up and going to work out.

That's in Fs, my Metric friends.

That’s in Fs, my Metric friends.

Am I worried about it? Yup! Sounds miserable.

Is it going to stop me from working out? Nope! So it’s going to be cold! Fuck it, whatever. See you guys on the other side.

Barcelona, un viaje por una boda, 2011

This is the first set of photos I’ve posted to The Black Laser since July of last year. Holy crap! Where has all the time gone?

To be honest, I’ve not felt very photographically motivated for some time and I even considered not bringing my camera with me on the trip to Spain. But, I am glad I did. Nothing like yanking you from your typical surroundings to get the old creative juices flowing. Also, jamon.

I’ve posted the whole gallery here instead of giving you a separate link because my other Flickr plug-in seems to be broken and I am not sure why. That’s pretty annoying, but this new way will work just the same.

[flickrset id=”72157627761334660″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”true” size=”large”]

Thoughts: don’t have too many. There are some nice photos here, and some really nice photos here. I am quite pleased with the edited set, down from nearly 600 photos. My photos look as much like my photos as they ever have and it’s clear that I am not seeing things all that differently than the last time I was motivated to take my camera out. I did try and focus on making sure I didn’t have too many redundant photos in the set, something that has been a weakness of mine in the past.

As a document of my trip through Spain goes, the photos are nice and that’s all I could hope for.

Hiatus While In España

Dearest Black Laserites,

I am here to announce that the site will be on hiatus for the next 9 days while I am away in Spain with JJ making bad decisions.

Enjoy your day lives and come on back the week of 9/26 (26/9 for you dirty Euros) for more of my regular Black Laser goodness. I love you all.

I’ll leave you with this:

Sir, you're going to have to put that in the overhead compartment.

Sincerely,

The Black Laser.

Diplo’s “Percão”

I didn’t know Diplo had any videos at all, but this morning JJ sent me a video of a bunch of big booty Brazilian girls modeling. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” was set behind the video. The video also showed a DJ which made me think of this Diplo track so I found it on Youtube and sent it to JJ. Then I watched it and it’s pretty good, so here we are.

Wasn’t that an amazing recounting of events? I know, I know. I blow you away daily.

The video for “Percão” features chicks shaking their asses, favelas, nightclubs, dogs, and dudes with no shirts on. Basically everything that City of God taught me to expect of Rio. And if the track doesn’t make you want to move, you should probably check to see if you’re breathing.

This might be the greatest e-mail I’ve ever received.

I got this last night around midnight. I guess, technically, that makes it this morning, but whatever.

I do not know how to spell. Anyways had a semi-drunk conversation with a random high school head tonight. They asked if i still talk to you. Blah blah the best part was when they said so is he still emo? My super quick response was i think that the only person emo in a conversation with joe is the person recieving his back lash and i guess you were there once.
I fucking hate the bay area and everyone here. I need to leave and never return

You wish you got e-mails this awesome.

Telluride Bluegrass and Country Music Festival 6/17/2010

JJ and I drove into Colorado on a semi-whim to attend this year’s Bluegrass and Country Music Festival. We arrived on the 17th (my birthday) and drove on out of there Monday the 21st. We logged 2400 miles of driving over the course of 4 days, all of which I did. It was absolutely epic.

The festival itself was totally amazing. Of course, I took photos the whole time. I only hit about 330, which is low for me, but I was doing a lot of partying and hanging out and whatever that got in the way of my efficient photo taking. Oh well. I had a blast.

On the way back, we had to take a detour around the Grand Canyon because of a fire raging outside Flagstaff. We’d seen the beginning of the fire on our way through the first time, but it has gotten so out of hand that they closed off 13 miles of highway just a few days later. Smartly, we stopped and got out to sight-see at the Grand Canyon and we lucky enough to experience it completely filled with smoke from the nearby fire at sunset. Pretty god damned awesome.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Check out the whole gallery here:

As far as thoughts on technique, I decided to shoot with only primes. Seeing these dudes walking around with their huge zooms and crap gave me a delightfully smug shudder of pleasure knowing that I was probably taking nicer looking photos than they were. But I might just be an arrogant prick. Whatevs.

My beloved 85 f/1.8 performed as amazingly as ever. The 28 f/1.8, though harder to use, worked nicely as well. But the poor 50 f/1.8 really had trouble nailing focus. Enough so that it ruined a bunch of photos that would otherwise have been just fine. Looking through the first two days of pictures today, I regretted sticking with the 50 both days because of the sheer number of just-out-of-focus photos. It made me angry. I will be purchasing the 50 f/1.4 as soon as I can not for it’s slightly faster aperture, but for its improved autofocus. I refuse to let a shoddy, cheap shit lens, ruin another photo. If my photos are going to be ruined, I want the fault to be my own.

Either way, I think there are some good photos in the set. Enjoy.

Hypocrisy’s “Weed Out the Weak”

My friend JJ this morning was sending me some genuinely awful glee-club, choral crap on YouTube. It was so terrible, in fact, that I need to cleanse my sonic palette.

I used this track by Death Metal stalwarts Hypocrisy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I also hope it is as successful in pushing out that choral crap as it was for me. Holy shit, JJ, that stuff is terrible. Why have you been watching it?