Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thought Circus: Everything Under the Big Top

This is a new blog installment where I’ll be covering whatever the hell is on my mind. Ranging from books to fashion, current events, and my invariable lack of understanding on each, and of course some training and fitness related stuff as well; just a few examples I’ll cover periodically.

To kick this off here's a picture of Putin having
sexual intercourse with a dolphin.

1.    Books, Music, Magazines, and YouTube.

I just finished reading Catch-22 for the first time. I know it’s one of the best books of all time and recommended by pretty much, everyone, but I just never got around to reading it. Well, I read it, and I’m glad I did. While confusing at times due to the narrative jumping around the timeline I can say on the whole it lived up to my expectations. But the conclusion was pretty ridiculous and easily my least favorite part of the book.

Now many of you know I’m in the military and all I’m going to say about that is Catch-22 does a pretty damn fine job of summarizing much of the personalities within the service. If you’ve read it you’ll understand the weight of that statement. If not, just read the book. Or, watch the movie, as I did after reading it, since it does a pretty good job of capturing the essence of the book.

This gif does a pretty good job too.

What am I reading right now? Well, I just wrapped up The Starfish and the Spider today. And am in the midst of Thinking Fast and Slow, The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, and am starting Cat’s Cradle today. I’ve got a few I’ve put on the back burner indefinitely. Namely Godel,Escher, Bach and The Brothers Karamazov. The latter is the umpteenth returning champ to the back burner. Some books just make you feel retarded. For me, those are two.

I think I’m having music A.D.D. In the last month or so I’ve downloaded stuff from Three 6 Mafia to The Black Keys. Give me all the shit you want, but if you can put the kazoo in a song and make it popular- you’ve got skills, and for that among other things, I enjoy me some Black Keys. I remember there was a guy in one of my old units who one day brought a small tin kazoo to work. He would just walk around all day making a racket with that thing. It was hilarious, until someone got fed up with his shenanigans and smashed it.

That was the day the music died.

Here’s the last 10 of my music downloads:

1.     The Black Keys
2.     TV on the Radio
3.     Interpol
5.     Flying Lotus
6.     Del The Funky Homosapien (this would include Hieroglyphics)
7.     Tech N9ne
8.     Dr. Dre
9.     Wu Tang
10. MF Doom

MF Doom, awesome stuff.

Not that I’m intentionally trying to be eclectic or anything, honestly, stuff just gets old and I find myself venturing out into the long grass trying to find Charlie, my musical adversary, hoping he’ll keep me entertained.

The only magazine I’m subscribed to right now is Mental Floss. If you’re not subscribed to it, do it. I’ve found that many magazines are simply copies of the last month’s issues with new ads; which make up 80% of the thing anyways. Not that Mental Floss doesn’t have a lot of ads, because it certainly does, but at least the content keeps me interested enough to outweigh them. I’m a facts fiend. If Snapple wasn’t fancy Kool-Aid in a glass bottle I’d buy it regularly, mostly for the facts. With that being said, Snapple, step up your game. If your drink were slightly better you’d have another customer. Keep the facts, lose the sugar, and improve the taste.

It’s simple, really.


Ipecac, more enjoyable than Diet Snapple. 

Reading Mental Floss led me to go to their YouTube channel, where I discovered that when I’m being lazier than a sloth high on codeine I could still get my interesting and ultimately useless facts. This then lead me down the rabbit hole that is YouTube and I found myself subscribing to and/or watching all sorts of odd stuff. Mostly science/information based channels like CGP Grey, Crash Course, VSauce, Veritasium, and Smarter Every Day, cause science and stuff is cool, but it also makes me feel less shitty for wasting time on YouTube when I should be doing something more worthwhile… like pulling the monstrosity that is GEB off the back burner.

2.    Fashion, how does it work?

Maybe I’m just getting old, probably, but here’s the deal. What the hell is going on with fashion? It seems more and more that obnoxiously bright colors are coming back. Obnoxiously tight pants are in for men and women. And chicks are now shaving parts of their heads and dying their hair 12 different colors.

Am I in some weird dystopian future where what’s most attractive has traditionally been viewed as symptoms of being insane? Hip and emotionally unstable! My favorite combo! 

Brittany was way ahead of her time.

I think when I get back from Afghanistan I’m going to start up what I call a “One Stop Hot Shop.” This will be a little trailer, or maybe even a phone booth of sorts, where you can step inside and it automatically does the following:

1.     Removes your pants and replaces them by spray-painting your legs neon green. Thus making you have the brightest and tightest “pants” possible. The pinnacle of cool. This technology is light years ahead of leggings. Watch your back Lululemon.

2.     Stencils your t-shirt with random geometric shapes. Your shirt then is cut into a sleeveless belly shirt. Lucky for you, it is now also neon.

3.     Lastly the One Stop Hot Shop will shave 1/4th of your head. The location is randomly selected. The remainder of your hair is then dyed with the least popular color of last month. Why the least popular color? Well, because that ensures your coolness for the next month.

That’s it! Three simple steps to take you from lame ass old person who just wears the same tired t-shirt and jeans into the hip new you. How exciting! Maybe this is less a question of my understanding fashion as to my lack of understanding my peers and our society’s youth.

One man enters. One androgynously hip
person exits. 

3. Fitness Culture is Revolting

Being fit, and desiring to be more fit is an admirable thing to do and venture to be better at. But the issue is when people let their hobby define them. I’ve never seen a stamp collector bumper sticker, but I’ve seen countless “powerlifter” decals, 26.2 stickers, and the like.

The problem isn’t with people proclaiming their passion. Cool, I'm happy to see that you're proud of your accomplishment. Nothing wrong with that. No, the problem is when people let it define them and then extend that definition into the belief that they are somehow better than others because of it. Outside the fitness community it is rare that someone's smugness and feelings of grandeur can exceed that of someone's inside. 

Dom isn't laughing with you. He's laughing at you.
So are the rest of us, bro. 

That’s the reason why there’s so much butthurt surrounding CrossFit. Some CrossFitters are bad at taking criticism and some people are laughably intimidated by CrossFit’s take-over of the fitness industry. And because of these insecurities each camp puts out monthly articles and blog posts that can be summed up as, “This is why I’m better than you.”

Outrageous.

Even more disgusting are all these YouTube fitness personalities who number beyond countable. Most of them should just be taken out back and shot. Not because I’m better than them, but because their shitty YouTube persona makes everyone else better than them. Their opinions suck, their performance sucks, their knowledge sucks, their experience sucks, or any combination of the previous. Just because you can have a YouTube channel doesn’t mean you should.

Jeffery Dahmer wanted to be a good guy, really.
(This image above was found by Googling "Fitness Motivation.")


If YouTube had a baby tossing cliff like Sparta did I’d like nothing more than to see a number of crappy channels at the bottom of it.  And that’s a big reason why I’m not a huge fan of YouTube’s fitness related stuff, because by and large, most of the information sucks, isn’t entertaining, and isn’t as fulfilling as watching a video about art heists.

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