October was a fine month! I went back to California and saw my brother and his little family and went to my friend’s wedding and saw a bunch of good old folks I haven’t seen in ages. It was a heart warming, rousing good time.
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to do any creative work this month. Sure, I had the photos I posted of the girls, but I really just think of those as snapshots. Fancy pants snapshots, but snapshots still. The photos from Spain were a different beast. They were more calculated, more deliberate. The photos from home just weren’t and I don’t really feel good about calling them a project.
Matt at Vox Critica asked me to do a bunch more Torgeirs too, but I could manage to get my shit together and actually write them so that is slipping into next month as well. Stupid.
And of course, October was also when I did my first pro VO job which is fucking awesome. But, again, money was made so I don’t get to count it toward my tally for the year. It was still incredible though, and I hope it’s the start of many more.
So, October, not exactly the most creative month for me, but that’s ok. I’ve been on a roll recently, and a little lull isn’t the end of the world. Next month look out for more Torgeirs, Ancient Aliens, and this year’s Christmas track(s??).
And on to the second half of this year’s theme: slowing my roll. So much of slowing my roll this year has been focused on not drinking all the time like a god damned drunk. And, honestly, I feel like I’ve been doing really well on that count. But “slowing my roll” is not just about how much or how little I drink. It’s also about taking care of myself in the face of my overwhelmingly bad habits and tendencies. And that means getting my ass out of the house to exercise.
Enter the Crossfit Elements course at Crossfit NYC.
I discussed this a little bit in last month’s summary. Crossfit, recommended to me by the inimitable JJ Zambrano, is a high intensity workout designed to build practical strength. Here’s what they have to say about it.
CrossFit is an extremely efficient and effective way to get into world-class shape.
Our workouts consist of constantly varied, functional movements (like pushups and pullups, deadlifts and squats, gymnastics, kettlebells, running, rowing, and olympic lifting), executed at high intensity in a group setting.
Essentially, a fun, friendly, yet high-intensity boot camp, with weights.
CrossFit is for anyone, regardless of their age or fitness level. Our members range from professional athletes and members of the New York FBI SWAT Team to grandfathers in their mid-seventies and desk jockeys with barely enough hand-eye coordination to use a mouse.
In short, if you care about health, real-world performance, or just want to look better naked, CrossFit is for you.
It’s the kind of workout you could do in your garage (if you have a garage; I do not). In fact, I’ve been able to successfully do some workouts in my weird little Brooklyn apartment. It’s great. You set a timer, go through the things, and jam while listening to metal. What the hell? That’s awesome. I can totally do that. Now, nearly at the end of the course (the last one starts in a couple hours), I feel like this is something I can really stick with. I intend to give it six months to see how I feel. You can’t really get solid results without a solid commitment, so that’s what I want to do. Commit.
Just before my first class, I was wandering about with Sarah and she asked me what my goals were for the class. I told her, “I want to feel better,” which is completely true. Since then I’ve thought about it a little more and I feel that while “I want to feel better” is still the perfect umbrella answer, there are some more specific ways to break it down.
First, I want to be stronger. That’s pretty basic. Can you do a dead hang over-arm pullup? I can’t. Not to save my life. How many pushups can you do in 2 minutes? The first night I found out that I can only do about 30 of them before I am unable to lift myself off the ground. And that was pushing myself HARD. I want to be able to do better than that. Seriously better than that.
Next, I want to look better. I am not ugly, let’s don’t even go there, but for the last couple of years I have felt a little too fluffy for my tastes. I’d like be leaner than I am now. I am already on the road having changed quite dramatically the way I am eating. I’ve lost about 10 pounds from my coasting weight of 205 pounds to about 195. There’s a little variance, but that’s normal. The next step is to change the shape of my body. I don’t want to spend the rest of my waning youth soft. Let’s get intense, motherfucker.
Next, I want to address the nagging asthma that I’ve been pissed off about for the last few years. At some point, while living next to a BQE underpass, I developed cough-equivalent asthma. Basically, instead of having gasping asthma attacks, I am wracked with violent, dry coughing fits. A lot of things irritate my lungs: seasonal allergies, overly air-conditioned spaces, humidity, whatever. I keep it under control, usually, with my Advair, but without health insurance it’s 250 bucks a month which is like, what?, like 40 beers? That’s a lot of beers. I really hope that I can use the increased endurance and pulmonary strength I hope to build in Crossfit to lessen the effects of my asthma. I really hate it.
Next, I’d like to get back into martial arts, but I’d like to be in better shape before I go back. As a kid I studied Tae Kwon Do and loved it. I dropped it because I was a pre-teen and an idiot and had no idea what was good for me. I should have kept going. In college I flirted with Wing Chun Kung Fu for a minute, but eventually settled into American Jiu Jitsu—a middle ground between Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jistu. I studied that for a year and a half or so until my senior year of school when I was hunkering down for my final film and ran out of money and time. By the time I had time again, I’d graduated and certainly didn’t have the money for it. Luckily, these days I both have time (not waking up hungover every morning) and money (bling bling, motherfucker) to take martial arts classes. But this time I think I am going to go for Krav Maga, or as a former boss called it “Jew Jitsu”. Krav Maga is a martial art designed by and for the Israeli Special Forces focused on kicking the shit out of the other guy. Grappling and floor fighting and katas and forms and whatever aren’t going to help you kill the other guy and get away as undamaged as possible; Krav Maga will. That’s awesome. I remember the physical confidence I had when studying Jiu Jitsu and I would like to possess that again.
Really, I’d like to go into my 30s (June 17, 2012) looking, feeling, and being as good as I can. I spent my 20s fucking off and doing whatever and getting my career in order, so now it’s time to get my body and my head in order. I’d like to have a head start. That’s where this is all leading. The slowing my roll, the projects, the myriad year themes: they’re all directed at putting me into a better place than I was yesterday. I think that’s important. I owe it not just to myself, but to the people I love and who love me, to the people who rely on me and the people who will come to rely on me, to be healthy and sane and productive. You can’t take care of your folks when you’re a fucking mess. I know that. And that’s all that life is, you and your people. Do your best to be your best in everything.
Ok, /end Joe’s life philosophy. I’ll check back in after November with thoughts about that month and, perhaps, thoughts about next year’s theme. Exciting. Stay tuned.