Saturday, April 10, 2010
Stumbling But Still In It
Unheard of behavior for a Saturday morning: I got up and went to something called "Fitness Battalion," the name of which kind of reminds me of the "Environmental Police" back in Boulder. I've needed to shed some pounds for a while -- I've started to resemble a fullback minus the muscle -- and I'm not what you call a self-motivator when it comes to doing much of anything physical, so I went along as a friend-of-member. 45 minutes -- what harm could it do?
Well. I'm still alive, but to my dignity, at least, plenty. First off, I'm glad I was with this program and not another similar crack-of-dawn (ok, crack-of-8:30 a.m.) outfit nearby -- mine was filled with normal people while the other looked like it was preparing for a coup. And mine was plenty tough enough.
First off, a revelation: when I (rarely) do sit-ups on my own, I do them Greg-style: do a sit-up, congratulate yourself, go sit on the couch for a while, read, perhaps have a beer, do a second sit-up. In this group, one sit-up is expected to be followed immediately by the second, and then (!) a third, fourth, fifth and so on. And if (hypothetically) you don't get through all 15 in the time alloted, no one says anything, but oh. Deep down, you know you've failed.
Then we did something called Burpees (I think), which are like regular push-ups except that this is how they do them in Guantanamo. Then a race involving Burpees and running, which left me incapable of saying anything other than "(wheeze wheeze) fuck (wheeze wheeze) shit (wheeze wheeze) goddammit."
Finally something called "Hatemakers," which weren't wrongly named. Next time someone asks me to do a "Hatemaker," I'm going to saucily respond "I'm more of a Lovemaker," and see if that gets me disinvited from any further exercise activities ever.
Several hours later, though, I feel relatively good other than complete lack of function in my limbs (I'm typing this with my tongue), helped along by the decision to reward myself with beer later in the day.
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#12 -- "Ill Fares the Land" by Tony Judt
Another one from my guy Tony, made more poignant since this is likely his last completely new work. It's both inspiring and a bit frustrating. The premise is simple -- unrestrained capitalism has led us astray, and a new way is needed. Fine, I'm on board with that, and he makes the case very well. Where it falls down is in terms of solutions -- how do we accomplish the changes he suggests? Well, uh. Not that simple. More courageous politicians, sure, but if the change is ultimately going to come from the people... well, right now, political discourse in this country at least is somewhere south of a Crosby vs Ovechkin thread in terms of intellect and civility. "Ill Fares the Land" sets the right tone, but (largely) I think it's going to be preaching to the converted. The people who need this book the most are likely least inclined to give it a chance.