Tuesday, February 27, 2007

...Of the tattoos I will soon be getting, several are just lettering. As I mentioned in my previous entry, “Vindico” is one of those words that has great significance to me. “Chaos” too is a word of great significance to me, and one for which I will soon have upon my flesh.

Chaos is a word that resonates within my daily existence as though a dream. I was birthed by Chaos and nurtured in its womb. It's energy flows through my veins. The third hexagram in the Chinese I-Ching signifies that of Chaos. There is this whole little poem which tells how "Out of Chaos, brilliant stars are born.":

“Before a great vision can become reality there may be difficulty. Before a person begins a great endeavor, they may encounter chaos. As a new plant breaks the ground with difficulty, foreshadowing the huge tree, so must we sometimes push against difficulty in bringing forth our dreams.”--"Out of Chaos, Brilliant Stars are Born"

Also, the symbol that stands for Chaos is actually the mating of two symbols, that of crisis and that of opportunity.--That alone is intriguing to me. ...Perhaps to some extent I am a Creatrix of Pathways UN- walked (meaning you have to tear it down before you can re-build it). I have no desire to master Chaos. I see Chaos as something that must be allowed to flow into the cracks to too-stagnant order so new patterns can arise. So I try to stir up those around me - put a bit of new ooze into the mix here and there. I don't really mean to do this - it just sort of happens around me, and I welcome it. I suppose if I had awakened on January first 2000 and I saw Vishnu trying to plant the lotus and Kali dancing on it, I may be asking her how to dance before I would be asking him how to garden. ...There are those who have been blessed with a more lawful mind, (as well as those with a more chaotic), and I admire and respect them as a necessary part of the cycle.

I find it somewhat of a paradox that I feel as though I was birthed by Chaos, and thus am familiar with it, yet I try to utilize its power for good. But let me digress....

As for the artwork, as you may well have acknowledged by now, not only am I an artist myself, but I love great artwork of differing styles; ...whether it be oils and acrylics, such as Luis Royo, Jeff Easly, Kieth Parkinson, Larry Elmore, Clyde Caldwell, Fields and Brom; ...mixed mediums including airbrush and CGI, such as Shiro Masamune; ...Comic Book art, such as Todd McFarlane; ...CGI artwork done by so many now and often used in video games; ...or pencil drawings done by all the aforementioned artists. ...I figure for all of my philosophical and related entries I will use artwork from various artists whom I like and of differing styles. The piece I used for this entry was by Luis Royo who is one of my favorites of the medium for which he works in. (If the piece itself offends anyone, well, for that I am sorry.--It is not my intent to offend. ...Granted, I am not sorry enough to omit it from the entry.) :) ...I have many facets. :)

While on the subject of art, ...I am pretty critical of art. Too oft a time have I strolled through the art stores lining most the streets in Carmel and am sort of appalled by seeing a large print, “#1,274 out of 3,000” selling for $2,500.00 dollars (or ten times that amount!!!) and resembling a sloppy interpretive expressionistic water color like oil-&-acrylic image of a lawn chair and some still life laying around the backyard in a quality that you would see in any elementary school after-school project by any 4'th grader. ...I don’t understand it. I think it’s shit. ...But, alas, ...who am *I* to judge? :) ...Perhaps I shouldn’t be so critical as most all of the artists whom I appreciate are much more gifted than I and likely would see many a flaw within my work. Yah, ...I really should digress on this one....


...In light of the tattoos I will soon be getting....

I have been asked many times over the years; "What the hell does 'Vindico' mean, anyway?", as this is a word of great significance to me. I have been asked more than a few times as of late, so I thought I would share....

Vindico is Latin and has a multiple meaning of "revenge" and "to protect" or "to avenge", as well as "to claim", "to champion", "to liberate", "to appropriate", "to punish", and "to emancipate", ..with some looser translations relating to honor and loyalty. I am driven by all of those definitions either do to my past experiences or do to something more innate. (Most likely a combination.) I know that I am deeply compelled to help others, often times at my own expense. I find it interesting that the oldest known translation and records of my family crest, researched from the Heraldry Archives in London, directly translate to "to serve". (Also the fact that the entire left side of my body is slightly bigger than my right seems to play into that whole thing as well.--Perhaps my ancestors carried heavy shields with their left and wielded swords with their right.--*lol*). The Greek translation of my name plays into it all nicely as well; A dear friend of mine (Shannon Tompkins) looked up my name in her name book and "Jason" directly translates to "Healer" in Greek. The "suggested character quality or characteristic" is "One Who Heals". The "life time scripture verse" is Isaiah 61:1; "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; for the Lord has anointed me to preach the good tidings to the humble, He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." ...Sometimes though, it is just that I have as an integral part of my nature a driving need to help any who wish to be closer to the All, and avoid any who would hinder another's gnosis with it. Thus on this plane, I've found that such a nature has lead me to act towards others in ways they consider deeply kind, compassionate, or helpful. ...I don't really have a ruler to judge such things, so I smile and nod a lot when people say I am such a good friend/councilor/whatever.

...If I feel the pain and pleasure of others as keenly as I feel my own, is it really anything other than self-interest that drives me to see the whole world happy? I don't know. After all, for the most part I am not fond of pain....


Thursday, February 22, 2007

...This is what makes my whole world go around.--The people I have the opportunity to train. I love them all dearly, and every time I have the opportunity to work with them I have to take a step back for a moment and just appreciate how blessed I am to have these people in my life and to be able to train them. I really am grateful to have the opportunity to work with them, and I will do anything I can to help them.

This is my Wednesday night at 6:00 pm class (The New “Team-6”, Baby!!!). This was the February 21’st 2007, class.

Left to Right:
Top Row; Kim, Rachel, Sam, Greg, Jama, and Kyle.
Bottom Row; Denver, Me, Ronnie, Melissa, and Mark.

There were a few of the “regulars” that didn’t make it tonight; Jason Bils, Dan Grant, John Shepherd, Narine Kadekian and Mallee Sato, to name a few, and they were dearly missed. But I had three new people, (well, not new to CrossFit but new to my Wednesday/6:00 pm class) and they all did GREAT!!! Everyone in class really brings it and not only that, but they all pull for each other as well and cheer each other on. I love the camaraderie of the group and the relationships that people forge through the CrossFit community. It really is a beautiful thing.

Kim and I just met this class and I have to say, she really was digging deep and kicked ass! She fit right in! (My “Wednesday-Night-Class” has a bit of a reputation for being rather difficult and everyone who participates really brings it and works hard.) Not only did she really bring it with the workout, but she also had a GREAT attitude and energy! I hope to have the opportunity to work with her again. Her husband Brian also does CrossFit on a regular basis and actually came to my Wednesday night class for his first ever group class.

Rachel Frankle has been doing CrossFit for quite a while and I actually worked with her a long time ago, though this was her first time in my Wednesday Night Class. She has come SO FAR from when she first started! She was really going for it and it was GREAT having the opportunity to work with her again!!! Her Husband Tom Frankle owns the local “Play-It-Again-Sports” store and has done a lot over the years for CrossFit and for the CrossFit community. He is not only a great athlete, but is someone I really have a great deal of respect for. ...In those quiet moments of contemplation, when thinking to myself about all the people that I am greatfull to have in my life, people who have had an influence on me and who I am today, or the people that I think God specifically placed in my life for a reason, ...Tom Frankle is one of those people.

Sam has been CrossFiting for a little over a month I believe and I know him from back in the day in the Jiu-Jitsu/KickBoxing scene and as a bouncer at a couple of the local clubs. He is a good friend of Greg Amundson and this was his first time taking a class with me. He is very respectful and grateful and is a hell of a nice guy. But don’t let that fool you, he can also put the beat-down on someone.--The man has skills! He said he was a little nervous about taking my class and hopping in with the “fire breathers”, but he did GREAT!!!

Greg Amundson, well, we all know this man by now. Overall he is our best athlete. He has been a great friend to me and to the CrossFit community and I have learned a lot from him. Sometimes some people upon first meeting him aren’t sure whether his kindness and outgoing personality is sincere or not, as they are not sure how to read it. But after being around the man for just a day you realize that he is truly that way and is filled with genuine kindness. He wants to see everyone around him do well. He may finish the workouts first while also using the most weight, (and wearing a 20# vest!), but he is also the first one to be there cheering on everyone else in the class or cheering on the person who is finishing last. A great man and a great friend. This was his last time participating in a group class until August, by the way. He is leaving for 6-months of Military training. He is, as are we all at CrossFit, a little bummed that he’ll be leaving for so long. But many of us will be maintaining a weekly contact with him and will be busting our ass until he gets back. “Finally, with him gone the playing field is level again!”--*lol* J/K

Jama is awesome! I love Jama's energy! She has been CrossFiting for quite a while now and she is one bad ass girl! She is a total sweetheart too! :) I have had the opportunity to work with her for quite a while now and she has been a pleasure to train. She is very driven and always pushes herself hard. She is steadily improving as an athlete. Jama always brings a great deal of energy to the class and I’m always happy to see her.

Kyle Bokariza has been CrossFiting for a while now and he has quite an athletic background (I’ll let him share that with you if he so chooses) and is also quite an artist. :) I’ve been working with him for several weeks now at once a week. (Though I recently started a class as per his request, Friday’s at 6:00 pm, so now I get to work with him twice a week.) He is very coachable and has been very consistent with his training and does CrossFit at least 5 times a week on average. He is also a very driven athlete and it definitely shows in his workouts. He’s a great athlete and a great person. I’ve gotten to know him a little more over the past few weeks and am grateful to have done so.

Denver has been a great presence in the class. He too has been doing CrossFit for a while now and comes in several days a week. Denver always works hard and digs deep, frequently opting to really “push” the envelope, often challenging himself with heavier weights when given a choice. (He also brings great music selections!) I was just working with him once a week, but since I started the Friday evening class, he has joined that as well, so now , just as with Kyle, I get to work with him twice a week.

Me; ...well, not a lot to say there. It aint about me, it’s about them. :)

Ronnie Boose has been doing CrossFit for longer than most of the trainers AT CrossFit! He served as an Army Ranger and is a savage in Jiu-Jitsu too. Ronnie is not only an amazing athlete, but he truly is a dear friend. I have a great deal of love for Ronnie, his wife Robin and his whole family. I recently started working with his wife, Robin, at 5:00 on Wednesday’s and she, just as he, really brings it and works hard.--Both are a pleasure to work with. Ronnie is yet another friend that I truly feel grateful to have in my life. I had the opportunity to spend part of Thanksgiving with him and his whole family. They were all very kind and genuinely good people. I really feel blessed to have him as a friend. ...Back to his athleticism; Ronnie usually pushes himself as hard as Greg Amundson (both usually opt for wearing a weighted vest during the workouts!). I mean, seriously. He is always looking to improve his athleticism. He is fast as heck too!--He is about 5’5” and is faster on the sprints than guys 6’5”! ...He also has a tremendous amount of love and respect for Greg and Lauren Glassman and CrossFit. He has been a part of the community for a while now and I have to say he, just as I, has a tremendous amount of loyalty to Greg and Lauren and to the community they have built. Let’s just say, he “has their back” always and that is something that I REALLY am grateful to see. I have a great deal of respect for Ronnie Boose. ...On a side note, if I ever open my own facility, Ronnie is one of the trainers I would love to have working with me.

Melissa Stroud started taking my classes many weeks ago and first started training with Greg Amundson. I have gotten to know her a lot more over the past many weeks and I now consider her a dear friend. I truly feel grateful to know her. She is currently in LEO and always pushes herself hard in class. She has the sweetest personality and always has a big smile and, much like Amundson, is always cheering everyone else on. In this class, for example, after she completed the workout, even though the workout was rough, she made her way outside to cheer on those who were still sprinting. ...During these workouts I have to run back and forth between being inside watching/coaching everyone on the critical lifts and being outside supporting them on the sprints. When it’s near the end of your workout and you're woozy and nazeous and, as BJ Penn once said, “Discombobulated”, and you are reaching deep within yourself to muster the energy necessary to try to push yourself on the last sprints, ...it can be a lonely place if your out there sprinting without much support. She made sure those who were finishing had support. Just seeing Melissa walk through the door with that big smile makes my day better. I’m looking forward to meeting her husband sometime soon and hopefully will have the opportunity to work with him and introduce him to CrossFit and the CrossFit community. I think he would love it and love the community and I think it would be SO cool if they were both able to train together in the same group classes! That would be awesome! Just as all of us who have done CrossFit together have noticed, there is a great deal of camaraderie that is forged within these workouts. I believe Major Michael Perry, US Army, said it best with; "We learned through CrossFit that combining agony and laughter is a powerful stimulus for developing camaraderie." I have seen this to be true with Married couples that I train as well. Their relationship grows even stronger and that’s just a beautiful thing. ...I am grateful to know Melissa and feel blessed having her as a friend.

Mark is a local Doctor and has been doing CrossFit for quite some time now. He first started CrossFit with Tony Budding and still trains with him, but also does several of the group classes a week. He has come a long way since he first started, and let me tell you, he fits right in with “Team-6”!!! Don’t let the “nice Dr” fool you. He might have a kind “bedside manner”, as the saying goes, but he is a savage at CrossFit!!! He is always striving to become better and is always pushing himself hard, just like Denver, often opting to challenge himself with the “heavier” side of heavy weights. He is fast as heck, too! This man can sprint! He also reads carefully, every month, the CrossFit Journal. He reads every issue, every article, closely, and freequently questions Tony Budding during their 1-on-1's about topics within the CFJ articles. That's friggin awesome!!! I love that! (All of you who have yet to subscribe to the CrossFit Journal, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?!--DO IT ALREADY!!!! The CrossFit Journal is THE BEST fitness publication anywhere!--Seriously!!!) ...It’s been great having Mark in Team-6 and I’m always happy when he can make it.

One thing I really treasure is getting to know my clients on a more personal level. I take great interest in learning more about them as individuals and hearing their stories. That is yet another aspect of what I do that I am really grateful for. Just as I strive to help them, coaching, teaching, etc, ...I always learn from them as well. Again, that’s just a beautiful thing.

As for the workout...

The class did 5 rounds of:
Heavy Clean----------------------x 5 4 3 2 1
Heavy Split-Jerk----------------x 5 4 3 2 1
100 meter Sprint---------------x 1 2 3 4 5

They had their choice of going left to right or right to left. L-to-R meant the reps of the Clean/Split-Jerk descended but the sprints ascended, R-to-L was vise-versa, Clean & Split-Jerk reps increased but the 100 Meter Sprints decreased.

The running efforts within Storms such as “Hellen” or “Nancy”, to name a few, where the emphasis of the workout is to get the best overall time are excellent! This is a definite fitness capacity for which to improve to greatly increase one’s overall fitness or “GPP”. However, there is also a GREAT deal of merit and value and potency to be gained from doing all-out sprints, especially when coupled with weightlifting or gymnastics movements. From my observations, many of those I work with don’t get this exposure much at all and so I try to give my clients exposure to the potent and effective elements that they may be missing on a weekly basis, such as heavy lifting. Sprinting is one of these elements. All out sprints offer SO MUCH as far as fitness adaptations (I will get into some of this within later posts) and for an athlete, mixing the all-out sprints and then having to “do something” immediately after such as Clean-&-Jerk or Muscle-Ups or picking something up or throwing something or kickboxing, etc, is excellent exposure. This is especially great exposure for those in Military, LEO, FootBall, MMA, etc. As far as broadening one’s athletic exposure and fitness capacity goes, just as there is great merit and value in monitoring one’s output so as to get the best overall time, such as in “Hellen” or “Nancy”, there is also a great deal of merit and value in just going all out, say, on a sprint for example, :), and then just suffering the consequences of that all out effort. A CornerBack may have the all-out sprinting speed to catch a wide open receiver making his way down the sidelines to the end zone, but will he have the strength to make the tackle, or better yet, to strip the ball, recover the fumble and then run it all the way back for a defensive touchdown? ...A Law Enforcement Officer may have the speed to catch up to a criminal in a foot chase, but will he/she have the strength to not simply subdue-&-control the criminal, making the arrest, ...but more importantly, to keep the criminal from wrestling their gun away from them and killing them? There are several examples I could give. Going all-out on a sprint and then having to “do-something” right after is great exposure.

Greg Amundson and I played with different exposure’s to Fight-Gone-Bad for a while. That is to say, on some exposures we would carefully calculate how many reps to get on each specific exercise so as to get the highest possible score overall, thus once reaching that target number you then rest until the top of the next minute. Yet on other exposures the goal was to specifically try to stay moving during every minute and just try to get as many reps as possible on every single exercise, thus setting up for the inevitable “crumbling” that accompanies such an output. Both strategies and approaches have great value and serve to improve and broaden one’s overall physical fitness. Both should be explored.

Anyway, whether mixing with other CrossFit elements or not, all-out sprints, regardless of modality, offer a tremendous amount of physiological (as well as mental) improvements and adaptations. Again, I will discuss this in a later post.

Wow!!!--I think that’s enough for this entry. I’ll add more soon. Maybe tonight, if I have time.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

...I'll be honest, ...I don't feel as though I belong here in this place or time.  I just don't.

...I often feel as though I am a stranger traveling here. I'm not sure where I'm from or where I'm going, but I learn the local customs and obey the local laws as much as possible out of a need to cause as little distress as possible to the locals. I am beginning to think that my goal in existence is to empty any realm or dimension that is analogous to hell. When every soul is at peace, when every fallen angel rejoins his/her God, then I will rest. I don't know where that drive comes from. Except perhaps for my own need to be one with the All. I suppose I remember, somehow, what it was like before my individual creation. I do have "memories" of things that I can not explain, past lives perhaps, or of my souls existence during the last great battle between Law and Chaos. I sometimes want to go back into the river of the souls. I want to rejoin that oneness. I suppose I assume everyone else does too. Such may not be the case. As long as those who are separate *want* to be so, that's fine I guess.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I sometimes think we should all go back to eating, sleeping, fighting and fucking like normal animals. Humans are the *only* creatures on earth who get up when their tired, go to bed when they aren't, starve when hungry and eat to be polite when not.

This is a photo of the last piece of artwork I ever completed. (If you look closely you can see my signature at the bottom.) This is one of my ex girlfriends (the one I broke up with when I thought I was going insane). This is one of the only pieces I ever actually completed and is pretty much the extent of my “portfolio”, hence is the only reason why I choose to use a drawing of one of my ex girlfriends to show my artwork. All other samples in my portfolio would be unfinished drawings. I would start a piece and then never finish as it would take me so damned long to finish that I would move on to another project. Also, ...it always seemed to be such a prolapsing of the soul when I would draw. It was fun and very fulfilling for me yet at the same time it took so much of me. I don’t know why I haven’t drawn in so long. As I said, it was very fulfilling, yet I haven’t done it in 15 or so years. (Believe me, I have gotten a LOT of shit for not continuing with my art.) I mean, I was somewhere between 17 and 19 when I did this piece. (As I said, my concept of time is not the most accurate.) I should have went to school for it, I know. Perhaps another talent of mine I let go by the way side, as the saying goes. It just takes so much time. But then again, had I gone to school for it, it likely wouldn’t take me as long to complete a piece.

I remember when I showed a few of my friends, including Jack and Joe Smith, they thought they were looking at a black-&-white photo of my ex-girlfriend. *lol* It didn't register that it was a photo of my artwork, until I pointed out the signature.

Anyway, ...I have recently been inspired to start again. There was a series of drawings that I wanted to do that would be seriously “controversial” and as I started to grow stronger in my connection to God and such, I felt it best that I don’t continue the project. I’m sure they would be considered “blasphemy” on some level. Well, some only mildly so, and others seriously so. ...I don’t know if I’ll ever complete the series.

I also was mapping out 2 large battle displays that are supposed to depict the last great battle between Heaven and Hell, Law and Chaos, Good and Evil, etc. These were going to be very large pieces, about 3 feet high by 4.5 feet wide, all hand drawn. These two pieces I may well complete at some point.

But this is not what has inspired me to start drawing again. No, it is something else. I had made a list of things that I need to complete before I die, and finishing a few pieces are on the list.

I was toying with the idea of doing one of the girl I was starting to fall in love with. ...I mean, ...why not, right? I know I shouldn’t. ...But she is the first woman I’ve dated that I've even started to have those kinds of feelings for in over 7 years, ...and despite her not feeling the same way for me, her and I are certainly important to each other and we are very good friends. ...So, I think I am going to. ...Yah, I know. This will be the first time in 15 or more years that I have drawn, well, anything other than some basic sketches I was working on for my tattoos I want to get.

I also wish to do a piece for my good friends Brendan and Shari. They mean a great deal to me and I love them both dearly. I don’t get to hang out with them much either, and so I feel even more compelled to do one for them. ...I can’t do one for everyone that has had a significant impact in my life, but I feel strongly compelled to do a few.

I also would like to do one for Greg and Lauren Glassman, and their family. ...I’ve know them for about ten years now and I love them both so much and I miss them terribly. I had originally planned on doing a portrait of them and their whole family, pets included, but after much deliberation I have decided on something else all together. I don't think a portrait of their whole family is something they would really want. I have decided instead to do a very large sort of "collage" piece of many of the people within the CrossFit community who have been instrumental in the growth of the community or individuals who have been a part of it from the beginning or who have been very loyal and giving to Greg and Lauren. I think this is something that they would cherish and appreciate more. Afterall, it is the *community* aspect of CrossFit that I think Greg is most proud of and fond of. He has worked harder than anyone I have ever met, and has relentlessly strived at trying to "get the message out to the world" as far as a trully efficacious training protocal for everyone. His was an arduous task, a relentless uphill battle which he set out to face alone, taking on pretty much the entire fitness industry initially by himself with only the aid of his wife, Lauren. While they have been quite successful over recent years in their battle, aquireing many allies along the way and changing some of the pardigms held by many, an honorable feat to be proud of for sure, I still feel that it is the community that has been built and established through the growth of CrossFit that is what's trully in Greg's heart. ...Family. That being the case, I feel a collage piece would be most fitting. And so I have began "mapping" this project out but am still seeking better photos of some of the key players to utilize within the piece. It'll likely be about 2.5-3 feet high and 3-4 feet wide when completed. I really look forward to the day when I am able to give that to them, fully framed and everything. I love them both dearly and I want to do something really special for them.

This is, ...I don’t know how to explain it. This is perhaps the only way I really know how anymore to truly express my love for someone. I mean, ...well, that didn’t come out right. What I mean to say, is, ...I think this is the most I can “give” as far as “of-myself” as a way that I can show or express to someone how much they mean to me and how grateful I am to have them in my life. As I said, ...for me it is very much a prolapsing of the soul and I leave a piece of my soul behind within the artwork. ...There are certainly others that I should do as well, such as some of my close friends and family. But these are the ones that I am compelled to do right now and so is where I will start.

These are some of the things I have on my list that I must complete before I die. Hence, I need to start now.

To a certain extent, our reality can be "what we make of it", I suppose. ...To a certain extent anyway....

...I once had a friend who always wore a certain cross around her neck. No matter how formally or how casually she was dressed, the cross was there, hanging from a worn leather thong. It was intricate, but obviously hand-made by a novice craftsman. That cross, along with her smile and her eyes, was what attracted me to this friend the first time I met her - it caught the black light in a club and a few of the stones fluoresced. I finally got around to asking her whom made the cross she always wore around her neck. She looked at me oddly and asked, "What cross?" So I described it to her. I realized instantly as I described it to her that she wasn't wearing it at that moment, which struck me as extremely strange because I'd never seen her without it before that. After hearing my description she just sat still for a while. Then she looked at me and said, "My sister made it...she was killed in a car accident two years ago. I stopped wearing it the day she died. -- I put it in her coffin before we buried her."

...I didn't have much of a reply for her. In my reality, the cross was there, around her neck. In hers, it was buried long before we even met. I suppose either or both can be true concurrently, if we but alter our concept of time and space just a little. ...I don't know....

...To a certain extent...everyone sees what they want to see, ...perhaps some of us also learn to see what others wish they could show? Or maybe some are able to have their message reach the type of person it is meant to reach?

...I have hypothesized that perhaps she kept the cross and in fact did not bury it as she said...hence she clung to it as a keepsake of her sister...a symbol of her love and mourning. And thus it was not until shortly before I asked that she "came to terms" with her sister's death and decided she could move on and thus, stopped wearing it. And if such were the case, then maybe she did not "lie" directly with deceit in mind...but maybe it was how her reality was for her in her head. ...The drama and the reality and the harshness of the tragedy...and how her mind handled it. Again...I don't know. I just sort of left that one alone.

...I don't think I am crazy. Although I imagine there are some professors/doctors out there who would argue otherwise. :) But then again, hey, if "crazy" is defined as being out of control of ourselves, then most of us are nuts anyway because we have all relinquished our control to work/school/family/society anyway. :) Though my other dictionary defines "crazy" as being mentally unbalanced... I have yet to meet someone who is mentally balanced. Since humans only use a small fraction of their brain, (latest estimate to be about 15%), how can there be balance within...? I am crazy. *lol* [weeeee]

This is Steven Wright. As I mentioned before, he is a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians and was their second pick in the first round of the most recent MLB draft. (Many within the organization wanted him as their first pic but the General Manager was insistent upon getting a left hander so for their first pick they took Dave Huff from UCLA.) Steven was drafted out of University of Hawaii and is where he met my good friend Shannon Tompkins. His stats in both High School and in College are very impressive. I mean, he pretty much dominated in both! He also happens to be a Christian.

Well, ...he has recently left town to visit his parents and is flying out to Hawaii to visit Shannon and then will be flying back to southern California and then driving out to Spring Training. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to work with him during the time that I did. Though I was bummed to see him go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely happy for him, but I wish I had more time to work with him and to just hang out with him. He is a good guy and I consider him a friend now. He is certainly the first guy that Shannon has dated that I can say I approve of. He has a good heart and is a lot of fun to hang out with. I should also mention, ...him and Shannon showed up at the hospital at 2:30 in the morning just for support while I was there the night my father had his heart attack. He didn’t even really know me yet, and yet he felt compelled to drive down to the hospital at 2:30 in the morning just to hang out with me while I was there. I was moved. That meant a lot to me.

I am looking forward to making it out to a few of his games this season and can’t wait to watch him play! I am also excited about having the opportunity to work with him again as soon as the season concludes. I would have liked to have more time to work with him on the Olympic Lifts, especially with the overhead movements such as the Snatch Balance, Push Press, Push Jerk, etc. We didn’t have much time to work on those movements as he felt it was best to hold off on them once his throwing program started. I was still able to get him solid work on some solid explosive movements though. We did lots of clean-pulls and explosive “Wall-Ball” from both a deep squat and with a “push-press” style dip/drive; both of which the goal was to get the ball as high as he possibly could each time.

Myself, as well as my friends and everyone at CrossFit who met him and got to hang out with him, all enjoyed having him around and thought highly of him. Steven’s a good man and now a good friend. Steven not only has a tremendous amount of character, but is a very committed, focused and driven athlete. He certainly has the mental aspect on lock! His mental toughness and focus is incredibly honed and is probably his most valuable asset as an athlete, along with his pitching skill. Those of us in coaching and in athletics know full well that no matter how “fit” the athlete is, regardless of sport, if they do not have that honed mental focus and solid mental toughness, that they will not go far or last long. Steven has both, the focus and the toughness needed to not simply succeed, but to excel. It will be fun to watch him play. Baseball, for me, just got much more exciting to watch.

...I have been through a lot of pain in my life, as have most. And there was a time when I had said to myself, that if a little fairy came down and said with the wave of her magic wand she could put everything back the way it was in my "perfect little bubble" of a life...without having to have experienced all the pain, ...I would choose "NO". ...I feel that if I had not gone through all that I have in my life, then I would not have the understanding of things that I have now...for it was a long process. While this is true, I sometimes think I'd be willing to endure less understanding if it meant less pain. *lol?* But, without those experiences, I think I would have remained lost and not even known it, for it was due to so much pain that I became more connected to my own soul. But there lies a dilemma. Can you be lost if you don't even know it? No, that isn't right. Obviously you are still lost...but for the purpose of your own private reality, you are not. One does not experience the deprivation of something if they do not know they are deprived. (Arguable, yes.) For example, in this country, fully 85% of us wander around in a state of semi-dehydration (for various reasons that aren't relevant). However, most of that 85% feels no sense of thirst. In the independent reality of "That Which is True" - those bodies need more water than they get. But for sake of their day-to-day existence, little is changed. For all practical purposes, they *don't* need the water, because the lack of it causes no dramatic interference in their lives. They have a few extra headaches, a few less-lubricated sexual encounters, a few more aching joints, but they never have that coveted epiphany in which they scream "I need water, I get it!" -- Just as many live comfortably without the kinds of realizations about life, etc, that myself and others have had driven into our souls by tragedy.

Perhaps we have to acknowledge that there is something wrong before we can correct it. ...But if you don't know something is wrong, you will be *happy* with what you have. (?) Knowledge is power, just like G. I. Joe says, "Knowing is half the battle. - Geee.-Ieee.-JOoooE!" :) ...But knowledge is also pain. To a certain extent anyway. If we were *happy* -- if we were truly satisfied with everything we were and everything we were doing, we would never try to change anything. Improvement comes via dissatisfaction with the current state of things. So I am sometimes troubled by the question: Which is better, to be happy and stagnant, or miserable and driven to improve? Improvement is supposed to be good, but aren't we only improving ourselves in a desperate attempt to recapture that bliss we had back when we were One with our lesser selves? :) Though, perhaps being stagnant has nothing to do with happiness and vise versa, and you don't have to be miserable to be driven to improve. I know I can sometimes find happiness in just knowing that I have the ability to improve. Perhaps happiness can be found within everything--you just have to have a good sense of humor for life and know where to look? It is kind of like beauty--scratch that--happiness is beauty. ("?") (Debatable, I know.) ("?") Anyway....

On some levels I feel that if I had not had all the inner turmoil and strife as well as all the rage and sorrow and chaos, that I would have accomplished more with my life thus far. Or at least I would have been much happier. I sometimes almost feel robbed of my childhood and robbed of how I could have developed and of the person I could have been. But there lies a paradox. First I say that I need the torture to become who I am...a baptism in fire, if you will. Then I say that same torture is what held me back from being something more. Can we have it both ways? Logically not. I think it may really all be the latter. We *were* robbed. ...If we're the products of anything, are we the products of others assumptions about us from the time we were little, ...children growing, ...questioning, ...listening? ...Impressionable. The army used to use the slogan "Be all that you can be." No one ever really means that -- everyone assumes there will be something that you will suck at, and they treat you accordingly -- usually most people end up believing it themselves. What would we be if everyone expected us to be excellent at everything? Would we measure up or would we fail? ...At least we'd know we truly tried.

How much of us is innate and how much is a product of the environment? Clearly we have many facets of our "self" that are innate, but these can be clearly expounded upon or warped to a degree by our environment. This is sometimes a question that can keep me up at nights. Because I can not escape the environment, I cannot see how I would have turned out if I hadn't been exposed to it. What parts of myself were God-given, so to speak, and what parts are merely acquired tastes that happened to somehow be acquired in infancy? I don't know. It sometimes bothers me that I don't know. I always used to wonder about these types of things, what if this... what if that... but the past is gone and I suppose it is the *future* of this world that should keep us up at night....

I recently read a definition of the word "Forgiveness". It read: "Forgiveness; Giving up all hope for a better past." That quote has something to offer.

These are two of my good friends, “Coach Smith” and “Coach Smith”, Jack and Joe.--Father and son. Joe is currently the Boys Varsity Basketball Coach at Aptos High School and his father, Jack, is his assistant. I have been good friends with the whole family for quite some time now (8 years or more) and they have both been great friends to me. I think I have pretty much trained almost everyone in their family at one point or another, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Siblings, etc. This is their 4’th year now with the boys. Before then they coached the Girls Varsity Basketball team for 3 or 4 years and before that the Boys JV Basketball team (in which they went undefeated, 27 and 0). Joe’s father, Jack, has been his assistant coach every year.

I have to tell you, these are two of THE BEST coaches I have ever come accross, regardless of sport or level. I have known coaches at the college level in the same sport and (no offense to them) Jack and Joe are by far the best Basketball Coaches I have ever known. They realy are exceptional.

Furthermore, ...I consider them and their whole family, "Family". The whole family has welcomed me in and all consider me as a part of the family. I am blessed. As I stated in a previous missive, ...I am very greatful for the people that God has placed in my life. (...Which provides a paradox for me which I'll get into within a later post.)

I have trained their teams in strength & conditioning ever since they started back with the Girls Varsity. Every season I work with them 2 or 3 days a week in the preseason. I end up going to as many of the games as I can and I scream and yell and can’t help but get all excited and pumped up when they play. (Yes, I have lost my voice on more than one occasion.) They always play hard. Every team they have coached has always played hard. That’s one thing about them that’s fun to watch.--They are very well coached and they play very hard. The guys on the team are Aaron Glaum, Tony Licker, Daniel Johnston, Danny Lucas, Ryan Rocha, Ben Solari, Andrew Biancardi, Tyler Raymond, Julius Freeman and Nick Ingram.